After a uncharacteristic 77-62 loss on the road to the Mississippi State Bulldogs, the Missouri Tigers (15-6, 4-4 SEC) head to Tuscaloosa to face the Alabama Crimson Tide (11-8, 2-6 SEC) today at 5 pm on SECN.
I wasn’t able to write a takeaways piece about the loss, so check out my twitter thread for some quick thoughts about the game.
Because I won’t be able to write a takeaways article from last night’s MIZ-MSST wbb game, here is what they would’ve been. @RockMNation— Lauren Rosenberg ️ ✡️ (@lrosenberg101) January 28, 2022
1. Perimeter defense was not good. When the game plan is to guard inside you still need to guard shooters.
Both Mizzou and Alabama are struggling as of late, although Alabama defeated SEC cellar dweller Auburn on the road last Sunday. What is most interesting about both the Tigers and the Tide’s SEC season is that Alabama’s home record is 1-3 while Mizzou’s road record is 1-3. With both teams struggling to find an identity in opposite ways, it’ll be a battle of who can overcome their achilles heels. Will Mizzou take advantage of Alabama’s SEC home woes or will Alabama do the exact opposite?
Here are the keys to the game for Mizzou.
1. Give the ball to your best shooter.
I think all Mizzou fans can agree that Hayley Frank did not get enough touches against MS State. In the comments section of the game thread, someone brought up that it seemed as though Frank was looking to take advantage in the post rather than shoot. I believe, because of the Bulldogs’ loss of Rickea Jackson, the plan was to insert post play from the forwards rather than shoot the three.
Regardless, Frank should’ve gotten the ball way more often. Against Alabama, whose starting five consists of four guards averaging around 5’7.5” and a 6’4 center, Frank should see the ball whether it be down low in the post or with the advantage from three.
When Frank starts to heat up, the team does better.
2. Lock the ball in a safe with extra security.
I made this reference a while back about how Mizzou needs to take care of the ball. Turnovers against Mississippi State further prove the need.
The Tigers tied their season high in turnovers with 20. Aside from not making their shots and allowing the Bulldogs to launch daggers with unusual ease, the turnover bug was a major issue.
Alabama is forcing 332 turnovers while Mizzou is forcing 267. Protecting the ball should be a top priority. Less mistakes equals more opportunities to put points on the board.
3. Win the rebound game.
Mizzou out-rebounded Mississippi State 34-22 due to their height advantage. Again, the Tigers find themselves with the height advantage, which needs to be put to immediate use.
Grabbing rebounds are usually the deciding factor of games. Unfortunately, it didn’t go Mizzou’s way on Thursday. But, rebounds give second chances and can keep momentum up and maintain or start an offensive flow.
If Mizzou is able to grab rebounds and capitalize on the opportunities to make something happen, this game should be better than the last.
Starting lineup: Blackwell is back in the starting lineup with Dembele, Hansen, Troup and Frank.
Blackwell gets the steal and Hansen finishes at the rim. Mizzou trails 2-3.
Alabama native Haley Troup hits a wide-open three. Mizzou leads 5-3.
Frank does what she does and draws a charge.
Dembele feeds Blackwell in the post who finds a cutting Frank. Mizzou leads 7-3.
Hansen hits a wide-open three from the top of the key. Mizzou leads 10-5.
Blackwell joins the three point party and hits one of her own. Mizzou leads 13-7.
Blackwell hits ANOTHER three and Mizzou leads 16-10.
Hansen feeds Frank in the post who spins and hits the layup. Mizzou leads 18-13.
Out of the timeout, Williams hits a turnaround floater. Mizzou leads 20-13.
Hansen hits a shot clock buzzer beating midrange jumper. Mizzou leads 22-13.
Williams posts up and reverses for a layup. Mizzou leads 24-16.
Dorroh gets a steal but misses the layup.
At the end of the first quarter, Mizzou leads 24-16.
Troup is fouled and has a chance for two at the line. She makes both and Mizzou leads 26-18.
Williams gets a steal on the perimeter and goes coast-to-coast for a layup. Mizzou leads 28-18.
Frank is fouled on the drive and has a chance for two at the line. She drains both and Mizzou leads 32-23.
Troup drives and dishes to Williams for a layup. Mizzou leads 34-29.
Williams gets a block and hits a floater on the other end. Mizzou leads 36-29.
Defense double teams Troup on the drive but she finds Dembele for three. Tigers are on a 7-0 run. Mizzou leads 39-29.
Williams gets a huge block on Alabama’s transition.
Hansen hits a jumper off the screen. Mizzou leads 41-29.
Blackwell is fouled on the inbound pass. Mizzou is in the bonus so Blackwell is going to the line. She splits the free throws and Mizzou leads 42-29.
Halftime: Mizzou leads Alabama 42-29 off a 10-0 run to finish the second quarter.
High low feed from Troup to Blackwell on the post up and the layup. Mizzou leads 44-31.
Blackwell hits a wide-open deep three. Mizzou leads 47-29.
Missed some broadcast because they went to a commercial instead of keeping it on after a foul was called. Alabama scored five points during that time while Mizzou didn’t get any. 47-34 Tigers.
Out of the Mizzou timeout, Hansen drains a three off an assist from Dembele. Great ball movement for Mizzou. Tigers lead 50-38.
Troup hits a deep three from the a bit right from the top of the key. Mizzou leads 53-40.
Frank hits a midrange jumper. Tigers lead 55-42.
Blackwell dishes to a cutting Williams for a wide-open layup. Tigers lead 57-44.
Hansen drives straight and underhands a layup. Tigers lead 59-44.
Kelly deflects a pass and it comes to the hands on Hansen. Kelly hits a layup at the quarter buzzer.
At the end of the third quarter, Mizzou leads 61-44.
Williams is fouled on the post up layup attempt. She drains both of her free throws. Tigers lead 63-44.
There was a ridiculously long clock malfunction. Kiya and Sylah put on a dance party. All is well.
Blackwell throws cross court to a wide-open Hansen for three. Mizzou leads 66-44.
Williams cleans up the glass from Hansen’s miss. Mizzou leads 68-47.
Blackwell drives left and finishes with her left hand for a wide open layup. Mizzou leads 70-49.
Blackwell feeds inside to Kelly who puts some post moves on and and muscles her way in for a highly contested layup. Mizzou leads 74-51.
Kelly gets a monstrous block on the defensive end.
Blackwell gets her 10th rebound at the 2:16 mark after Jada Rice misses a free throw. She now has her 11th straight double-double. Pingeton calls a timeout to get her out of the game.
Skylah Travis is in the game for Mizzou. Micah and Sarah Linthacum, Sara-Rose Smith and Kiya Dorroh join her on the court.
Travis hits a layup for her first points in SEC play. The bench is jumping like jelly beans. Mizzou leads 77-61.
Final: Mizzou defeats Alabama 77-61.