After a 10 point defeat against the Georgia Bulldogs, the Missouri Tigers look to snap their three game losing streak and get back into the win column against the Vanderbilt Commodores tonight at 7 pm on SECN+.
On the other side, Vanderbilt looks to snap their own three game losing streak after being crushed by the LSU Tigers 64-82 in Baton Rouge.
The Commodores are led by senior forward Brinae Alexander and freshman guard/sixth woman off the bench, Iyana Moore, who account for 482 of the team’s 1,159 total points (a little under 42%). Alexander is averaging 14.6ppg while Moore is averaging 12.2.
Much like Auburn, Vanderbilt is a bit undersized compared to the rest of the SEC. Their tallest players are 6’2 forwards Sacha Washington and Kendal Cheesman, with only the former getting significant playing time.
If the Tigers want to get back on track, they’ll need to play aggressive down low and use their height advantage to the max.
One more thing before I start, this game is Vanderbilt’s LGBTQ Pride Night 2.0. Mizzou, I am begging. Please have a Pride Night in the future. I personally want to see Tiger fans decked out in some rainbow colors at Mizzou Arena.
Now onto the keys to the game!
1. Establish in the post on defense.
The status of LaDazhia Williams is still unknown and if she is indeed out again, other players will need to step up big time. A huge factor as to why Mizzou hasn’t been successful down low on defense is because they’ve allowed wide-open driving lanes. Without the post presence of Williams to help mitigate those easy buckets, opposing offenses have been able to capitalize.
Aijha Blackwell has done all she can to help stop the bleeding. Hayley Frank has joined her as wel,l but it’s truly not enough. Mizzou has the physical advantage as well but they’ll need everyone to step up no matter position especially when trying to grab defensive rebounds.
2. Utilize the bench.
I wrote in the Georgia recap about how strange it was that Coach P didn’t go to her bench as much as she normally does. I must say, I’m not in a place to question her reasoning because I’m not a coach, and she did what she thought was right.
Against Vanderbilt, I hope we’ll be seeing a lot more of the bench, especially if this game needs a spark on defense. Whenever Sara-Rose Smith and Kiya Dorroh are on the floor, defensive intensity is heightened. Due to their height and length, they excel on helping out in not only the perimeter but inside. It’s the hustle plays and ability to clamp on the perimeter that allows for consistent defense when, for example, Blackwell and Williams are on the bench.
3. Get the offense rolling immediately.
A huge factor that plagued Mizzou against Georgia was their inability to get their offense going early. Sure, they made it up by outscoring the Bulldogs in the second quarter, but it wasn’t enough.
Obviously, shooting is what Mizzou does best, as they’re averaging 38.6% from beyond-the-arc. But Vanderbilt’s defense has done a great job in limiting opponents’ three pointers, only allowing 29.4%.
Mizzou needs to keep shooting those threes because it’s their speciality, and maybe it’ll help crack Vanderbilt’s defense and expose a weakness. When facing a team who’s deadly from three like Mizzou, defenses have to improvise. Hopefully that’ll be what happens against Vandy.
Starting lineup: Typical lineup of Hansen, Dembele, Troup, Blackwell and Frank.
UPDATE FOR VANDY: Jordyn Cambridge is out!
Frank gets Mizzou on the board first after a high-low feed from Blackwell for an and-one opportunity. She missing the free throw. 2-0 Mizzou.
Another day, another charge drawn by Frank.
After being out for a few games, Williams is on the floor.
Frank hits a three ending a long scoring drought. Mizzou leads 5-4. She has all five of the Tigers’ points.
Hansen receives the inbound and steps back for a three. Mizzou leads 8-4.
Williams posts up, turns and lays it in. Mizzou leads 10-4.
Dorroh hustles for a steal but Mizzou is not able to capitalize.
At the end of the first, Mizzou leads Vanderbilt 10-9.
Dorroh drives and hits a 15 footer to start the second quarter. Mizzou leads 12-9.
Frank banks in a three and Mizzou now leads 15-11.
Dembele fires and responds to Alexander’s three and buries it. Tigers lead 18-14.
Frank draws another charge. Her second of the evening.
Troup stops, spins and draws the foul for an and-one. She missing the free throw. Tigers lead 20-17.
Dorroh hits her first career three on the left wing, joining Mizzou’s three point supremacy. Mizzou leads 23-17.
Dembele steals the ball and Hansen steps-back for a three. Mizzou leads 26-19.
Troup dribbles and steps back for a free throw line jumper. Mizzou leads 28-23.
Halftime: Mizzou leads Vanderbilt 28-23.
Troup hits a three from deep to start the third. Mizzou leads 30-23.
Hansen gets a steal and goes coast-to-coast for a layup. Vandy calls a timeout. Mizzou leads 32-23.
Troup drives, dishes to Dembele who dishes to Hansen for a corner three. Mizzou leads 35-25.
Dembele drives left and floats in a layup. Mizzou leads 37-30.
Blackwell gets the feed down low and hits her first bucket of the game. Mizzou leads 39-30.
Williams posts up and floats in a layup. Mizzou leads 41-30.
Williams loses her the defender down low and and gets an easy layup. Mizzou leads 43-30.
Blackwell drives and is fouled. She makes both of her free throws. Mizzou leads 45-30 and are on a 8-0 run over the last 2:16.
Hansen side steps off the screen by Williams and hits a three. Mizzou leads 48-32.
After a few hard passes, Smith finds Blackwell behind the basket and she hits the layup. Tigers lead 50-34.
At the end of the third quarter, Mizzou leads 50-38.
Troup drives left and is fouled for the and-one opportunity. She drains the free throw. Tigers lead 53-38.
Blackwell lobs the ball to Frank for a layup. Tigers lead 55-40.
Blackwell grabs an offensive rebound and puts it back for a layup. Mizzou leads 57-40.
Blackwell steps through for a layup off a feed by Frank. She nows has a double-double. Mizzou leads 59-43.
Frank drains a three after a screen from Troup. Mizzou leads 62-45.
Dembele bounce passes to a wide open Hansen for a layup. Mizzou leads 64-52.
Blackwell is fouled with a second left. She drains both free throws.
Final: Mizzou defeats Vanderbilt 66-42.