The Missouri Tigers displayed grit and toughness throughout the entirety of their 78-69 win over the Texas A&M Aggies.
The first quarter was a back-and-forth between Mizzou and A&M. Lauren Hansen started the game off with a three pointer within the first 10 seconds of the game, and Hayley Frank followed a minute later with a three pointer of her own. Haley Troup scored in transition off a turnover with a layup and Mizzou was suddenly on an 8-2 run. Aijha Blackwell also got her offense started early with a three pointer, a much needed momentum shifter that would help define the rest of the game. Kiya Dorroh joined in the three point fun as well with a wide-open three on the left wing, and just like that, Mizzou was up 14-7.
Mizzou’s offense looked great, but the tides began to turn. A&M came back and started a scoring spree of their own, which tied the game at 14. The most Mizzou could do in that first quarter was Blackwell getting a put-back layup. The Aggies ended the first quarter with a 19-16 lead.
The second quarter was an absolute mess for majority of it. It wasn’t until the 3:55 mark Mizzou scored their first points, courtesy of Frank’s free throws. At that point, Mizzou was down 18-27. Things were looking grim for the Tigers. However, those free throws sparked a momentum shift for Mizzou. The Tigers went on a 10-0 run courtesy of a few Frank threes and a couple layups by Hansen and LaDazhia Williams. Just like that, Mizzou saw their deficit dwindle to just one possession, and they trailed A&M 29-31 at the break.
To start the third quarter, Troup decided it’d be fun to join in the three-point party. She hit a three and then followed that up with a second chance layup. Frank hit another three pointer and followed that with a layup. Probably one of the most impressive parts of that quarter was Mama Dembele. On the fast break, Dembele decided to stop and chuck up a three all on her own. With no Tiger to assist, she dribbled past the half court line, and since she had no defenders on her, she threw one up and it went in.
The rest of the third quarter was pretty typical. Frank hit a few more threes and Blackwell ended the quarter with a steal and buzzer-beating layup. Mizzou outscored A&M 28-22 but still found themselves trailing by 53-57.
Next it where it got fun and intense. Mizzou’s defense was already heightened and once their offense started flowing, there was no looking back. I think this quarter could be best described as a seesaw; the teams kept going back and forth so often with lead changes that it hit double-digits! Frank and Hansen continued to destroy A&M’s defense from three, Troup hit her second three of the evening and Dembele hit some clutch free throws.
When the Tigers finally got up to a double-digit lead late in the fourth, all that fans needed to hear was the buzzer. Mizzou had came back from a second quarter deficit and was victorious.
Here are my takeaways from the win over Texas A&M.
1. The Aggies should’ve brought their umbrellas because it was raining threes.
Honestly, what do you expect from a Mizzou team who is now tied for first with, checks notes, Texas A&M for three point percentage in the SEC.
I know I said in my preview that A&M wasn’t a good three point shooting team and I still stand by that. They still prefer the inside shot and don’t like to launch the three as much as Vanderbilt, Florida and Kentucky. But when they do, it’s lethal.
Mizzou obviously loves to shoot the three. Opponents know that. Last night was no exception.
As a team, Mizzou made 16-33 of their threes for 48.5% while A&M shot 9-23 for 39.1%. Every starter hit at least one three and it honestly looked as though they’d break the record. They didn’t, but someone else broke their own.
That someone else is Hayley Frank. Before last night, her career high in three pointers made was six. Obviously that’s a real good amount to make.
Frank decided to show off at home and drained a career high SEVEN three pointers. She shot not only 50% from the field but 50% from three. Her 14 three point attempts were also a career high. She finished with 28 points and 8 rebounds.
2. The double-double Queen continues to reign supreme.
Did y’all know that Mizzou has the leader in total rebounds, rebounds per game and defensive rebounds per game? And is tied for the lead in double-doubles?
Of course you did because it’s Aijha Blackwell.
Even though Blackwell only accumulated 10 points last night on a great 50% shooting night, she was a menace on the boards. Shocking, am I right?
If there’s one thing you can rely on Blackwell for — and there’s basically a million things you can — it’s to get a double-double and be ferocious on the boards. When Aijha starts with grabbing the defensive boards, it’s nightmare time for opponents.
She finished the game with 10 points and 15 rebounds.
Also, quick shout out to SECN’s twitter for spelling her name incorrectly. [Insert eye roll emoji here].
Alijha Blackwell’s last nine games— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) January 24, 2022
▪️ 20 Pts, 20 Reb
▪️ 15 Pts, 12 Reb
▪️ 18 Pts, 15 Reb
▪️ 13 Pts, 14 Reb
▪️ 11 Pts, 14 Reb
▪️ 26 Pts, 16 Reb
▪️ 27 Pts, 13 Reb
▪️ 12 Pts, 17 Reb
▪️ 10 Pts, 15 Reb@MizzouWBB | @AijhaAnniece pic.twitter.com/ub5cpttgTV
3. Third quarter, best quarter!
I mentioned in the preview (link in first takeaway) that third quarters have been pretty nice to Mizzou. Thankfully, that streak continued. The Tigers outscored A&M 28-22 in the third quarter to spark the comeback that would inevitably help lead Mizzou to victory.
The display of grittiness and will this team showed in the third quarter, especially at the offensive end, after struggling in the beginning of the second proves that this team fights on every single possession. Are the third quarter woes behind Mizzou? Right now, it looks to be that way.
Next up, Mizzou heads to Starkville to take on Mississippi State on January 27 at 5:30 pm on SEC Network.