Game 1 of the Mizzou athletics’ triple header did not disappoint. The Mizzou women’s basketball team ventured off to Champaign, Ill for the right to brag after a one year hiatus.
The game started off shockingly slow, extremely out of character for a Tigers team that likes to come out kicking. But as this women’s basketball team has shown throughout the season, they never gave up and it resulted in a 84-64 dub.
Here are some takeaways from the Braggin’ Rights win. Note: The game was highly inaccessible but I was able to watch the game live.
1. “When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” -Billy Ocean
Mizzou started the game off allowing Illinois to outscore them 13-1. It wasn’t that Mizzou wasn’t getting good looks. It was a matter of not converting them. Their sole point came off a Haley Troup free throw at the 7:44 mark in the first quarter. Their energy looked depleted. They did not look like themselves.
Coach Pingeton called a timeout at the 7 minute mark and made three key substitution in Izzy Higgingbottom, Sara-Rose Smith and Kiya Dorroh, the latter two for key defensive purposes. At the 5:59 mark, Higginbottom grabbed an offensive rebound from her own three-point miss and put it back for a layup, the Tigers first field goal of the game.
The momentum shifted from there-on-out. Mizzou went of a 13-3 run and tied the game up at 16 at the end of the first quarter. They went on to outscore Illinois 24-10 in the second quarter, evened out the third quarter at 20 and then won the fourth quarter 24-19.
It might not have been smooth sailing but the Tigers overcame their struggles and didn’t let the lead get away for the latter three quarters.
2. Blackwell gonna Blackwell.
I bet you can’t guess who’s still leading the NCAA is defensive rebounds per game. Here, I’ll give you a few seconds.
1, 2, 3.
Still don’t know? Her name is Aijha Blackwell.
I’m just kidding, of course y’all know. Blackwell is at it again for her ninth double-double of the season.
Currently, Blackwell is averaging 10.7 defensive rebounds per game. The next closest is Georgia Tech’s Lorela Cubaj with 9.8 per game. She is also tied for second in double-doubles with DePaul’s Aneesa Morrow and trailing Baylor’s Nalyssa Smith.
Yesterday’s game continued to show that Blackwell is dominant literally everywhere on the court. She finished with 18 points, 15 rebounds and a block. It is nearly impossible to stop her and if the NCAA and SEC are still not on high alert, they absolutely need to be now.
3. Mizzou had not one, not two but FIVE players hit double-digit scoring.
I honestly could not tell you the last time Mizzou had five players hit double-digits in scoring, if at all. Once Mizzou got their mojo back, there was no stopping players from flat out scoring.
Blackwell had 18, Hayley Frank and Lauren Hansen had 14, Troup had 10 and Ladazhia Williams had 13 off the bench. The most impressive part, in my opinion, was Williams’ continued efficiency.
Against Southern, she put up nearly identical numbers with 5/6 shooting in both games. Williams is looking more and more like herself. Tiger fans should be extremely excited for what’s to come for SEC play when she is completely healthy.
Having five players score in double-digits is the perfect cherry on top of ending non-conference season with a Braggin’ Rights dub.
4. Not a takeaway but congratulations are due.
Coach Pingeton earned her 200th win as Mizzou’s head coach. Troup not only appeared in her 100th game in the black and gold but recorded her 500th career point.
Congratulations to both! Now onto conference play!