The Christmas City Classic champions came back to CoMo with a purpose. After a great showing in Bethlehem, Pa., the Tigers prepared to put on a show for the loyal fans at Mizzou Arena.
And a show they absolutely put on. After struggling in the 1st quarter, with turnovers being their main Achilles heel, they put on a defensive and offensive showdown for the rest of the game. After leading 21-19 heading into the 2nd quarter, they only allowed a total of 27 total points to SIUE. Debuts were made, a certain double-double queen is back in action and a two career nights occurred.
Here are some takeaways from the blowout win over the Cougars.
1. Mama Dembele made some shots and had a career high in assists.
- Dembele knows her job is to pass and play tough defense, but who said she isn’t allowed to take shots if she has the mojo? Throughout the season, fans have been able to see the growth of her confidence, primarily the offensive end. Mama showed her passing IQ by recording a career high eight assists.
2. The transition offense outmuscled SIUE’s full court press.
- All the credit to Coach Quigley for applying great defense pressure. Her team is scrappy and it can work well. Mizzou used to struggle with advancing the ball on the full court press, but that has changed throughout this season. As basketball fans know, applying the full court press can’t always work, and applying it for almost every play will cause for a break down.
- I don’t have the exact number of Mizzou’s offensive points in transition after the breakdown, but if I was to make a guesstimate it’d be 10 points. They have figured out how to convert in transition which will greatly help them come conference play.
3. When Frank was out with foul trouble, in came Sara-Rose Smith.
- Smith is a rebounding machine, but she can also shoot her shot. After Frank had to go to the bench for early foul trouble, the team needed Smith to come in and produce on the scoring end. She was 4/4 from the field with 10 points and 5 rebounds, including a great reverse layup from a Dembele assist. Smith understands her role as a defender, but when she is needed for offensive production, she is up for the assignment.
4. The double-double queen is back!
- After not notching any double-doubles during the Christmas City Classic, Aijha Blackwell is back to her normal ways. She muscled through defenders and finished with a stat line of 16 points and 15 rebounds on 5/7 shooting.
5. Welcome to not only the Zou, but college hoops, Skylah.
- After around two years of not playing basketball, Skylah Travis has returned to the court. With LaDazhia Williams not playing, Travis was able to get some good minutes. Her first points as a Tiger was a layup after an assist by [checks notes] Jayla Kelly. I personally love a post-to-post play. She finished with 4 points and 4 rebounds.