After a stellar 83-36 win against Omaha on Friday, the 10-1 Mizzou women’s basketball team is back at The Zou to welcome defending SWAC champions, the 2-4 Jackson State Tigers.
Jackson State hasn’t exactly played up to expectations thus far into the season, facing tough blow out losses to Nebraska and North Carolina while also upsetting Texas Tech in Lubbock. Mizzou, on the other hand, has an outstanding record that’s nearly identical to this time last season with their only loss coming against ranked Virginia Tech.
JSU brought in Rutgers transfer Liz Martino, while bringing back their star player, Ti’lan Boler. Jackson State is a well-balanced team despite their early struggles and current record. As we all know as basketball fans, we absolutely cannot allow records to deceive us. Mizzou will need to play well and with high energy in order to secure this win.
Here are my keys to the game.
1. Force JSU to take threes
Similar to Omaha, Jackson State is not a team that shoots threes. They prioritize post play and pulling up from the midrange. The exception to this is Liz Martino, their prime three point shooter.
Martino’s three point prowess was prominently on display in the Lady Tigers’ 69-63 upset win over Texas Tech, where she was 5-8 from three. On the season, she’s shooting 33% from deep.
The rest of the team is extremely lackluster from long range. On the season, they’re shooting 28.8% from three which further emphasizes how much they live inside the arc. Guard Ti’lan Boler is averaging 9.7 points per game on 41.1% shooting. Daja Woodard is their most efficient scorer from inside, averaging 6.8 points per game on 50% shooting from the field.
Although all of their players are proficient in shooting from the inside and low post, Mizzou needs to do exactly what they did against Omaha and force JSU to shoot threes, preferably not from Martino.
2. Shoot the lights out
Oh, how nice it is to see this team keep up their shooting high. Against Omaha, five players hit double figures in scoring. Lauren Hansen and Hayley Frank led the way for the starters with 15 and 10 points, respectively. Oddly enough, the other three double-digit scorers came off the bench. Katlyn Gilbert scored 11, Micah Linthacum scored a career high 12 points on 100% shooting and Sara-Rose Smith scored 13 along with 12 rebounds for a double-double.
Team effort @laurenhansen_1: 15 pts. | 3-6 3fg. | 1 stl.— Mizzou Basketball (@MizzouWBB) December 9, 2022
Rosie: 13 pts. | 12 reb. | 2 ast.@micahlinthacum: 12 pts. | 5-5 fg. | 2-2 3fg.@_sheh00ps: 11 pts. | 7 reb. | 4 ast.@ashton_judd: 9 pts. | 2-3 3fg. | 1 stl.@akswish1: 7 pts. | 8 reb. | 3 ast. pic.twitter.com/GvlIMZZQY4
As a team against Omaha, they shot 48.4% from the floor and 42.3% from three. On the season, Mizzou is averaging 46.4% from the field and 35.5% from three. JSU is allowing opponents to hit 39.1% of their attempts from the field and 28.8% from three. Although the Lady Tigers play great defense against their opponents, they’re still dropping games, some with a large margin. Mizzou’s high-powered scoring and offense when it’s clicking should cause Jackson State’s defense to stutter and break down.
3. Play great defense
Mizzou’s played stellar defense all season long. So great, in fact, they are currently 15th in the nation in scoring defense. On the season, they’ve only allowed 52.27 points per game while scoring 70.09 points per game.
Battlin' for everything— Mizzou Basketball (@MizzouWBB) December 10, 2022
Woke up with the nation's 15th-ranked scoring defense pic.twitter.com/hVPTADAWpd
A crucial element about JSU’s game to note is they have no one who is averaging double-digits. The aforementioned Boler is their leader in points per game. That’s a clear sentiment to how well their opponents play defense against them. Jackson State can expect just that from Mizzou and more. As long as Mizzou plays tight and efficient defense, they’ll hold off JSU from going on any scoring runs.
Mizzou takes on Jackson State on December 11 at 2pm CST on SECN+. You can listen to the radio call on KTGR and the MUTigers app.