The Missouri Tigers moved to 10-1 after a vicious 83-36 beatdown over the now 4-5 Omaha Mavericks in front of an electric atmosphere powered by a massive Columbia Public Schools elementary field trip crowd.
“The energy from the kids was amazing,” Pingeton said. “It was loud and I hope they had a good time, and I wish we had more time after the game to celebrate with them.”
The Tigers raced out to an early 11-0 lead, courtesy of hot early shooting from Hayley Frank and Haley Troup. The exciting first quarter was powered by a defensive clinic from Head Coach Robin Pingeton’s team, who held Omaha to an abysmal 1-12 shooting in the first quarter en route to a 26-6 first quarter lead.
Micah Linthacum was the unlikely leading scorer in that first quarter, as the Tigers did a fantastic job of distributing the scoring wealth in the opening frame. Linthacum finished with 12 points as she shot an impressive 5-5 from the field and 2-2 from three. The 12 points marked a career high for her.
“Micah was so good tonight and I keep telling her how much we need her this season,” Pingeton said. “She looked so confident and her range has improved so much.”
Elena Pilakouta, the 6’3 center from Cypress, was the player to watch for the Mavericks entering the game and she was completely silenced early, resulting in Omaha looking elsewhere for offense and being unsuccessful. Pilakouta picked up her lowest points total of the season in this matchup, only accumulating two points. Her previous season low was eight points.
It ended up taking until the 4:12 mark in the second quarter for the Mavericks to even reach double digits in points, which is an incredible feat on its own for the Tigers. Coach Pingeton has repeatedly said in her press conferences that she has been looking for a complete performance from her team, and this was the closest this group has gotten to that.
In the first half, the Tigers shot 8-16 from the three-point line while on the contrary, the Mavericks shot an abysmal 1-12. Speaking of abysmal shooting, Omaha also shot 3-25 total from the field in the first half, the worst a team has shot in a half against Mizzou this season.
Yet again it was Lauren Hansen leading the way for the Tigers, as she tallied 15 points at 6-12 shooting. Hansen’s performance against the Mavericks marked her fourth straight game scoring 15 or more points.
The Mavericks finally found their footing in the game after the halftime break, but by then it was too late for them to match the Tigers offensive intensity as the Tigers held onto a commanding 66-31 lead after three quarters.
Sara-Rose Smith was an excellent contributor off the bench in the tilt, tallying 13 points and 12 rebounds, the latter of which contributed heavily to a dominating performance on the boards for Mizzou. The Tigers outrebounded the Mavericks 48-27.
One thing about early leads is it allows coaches to rotate their players onto the court and get proper minutes to show what they can do. Katlyn Gilbert and Averi Kroenke took full advantage of this opportunity and showcase their skills in the second half.
“It is so important to get people extended minutes and game experience,” Pingeton said. “To be able to give extended minutes to Micah and Averi is so important because they both went down with injuries earlier in the year.”
Gilbert tallied 11 points shooting 5-9 from the field while the freshman Kroenke scored seven points with an impressive eight rebounds. Every player available to Coach Pingeton played at least 15 minutes today, the first such occurrence all season.
“I thought Gilbert was impressive tonight,” Pingeton said. “We continue to see her emergence and she played with a high intensity tonight.”
Omaha’s 36 points is the lowest Mizzou has allowed this season, beating their previous record-low of 38 they set in their home opener against Bradley. The 83-point performance tied their record high (also set against Bradley), and was their third 80+ point performance of the season.
Overall, the Tigers finished shooting a 48.4% clip from the field and a 42.3% clip from three, whilst only allowing a 22.2% clip from Omaha on the other end. The win is a great lead off for the Tigers into their final two games of the non-conference, which are both at home.
UP NEXT: Missouri takes on the Jackson State Tigers on Sunday, December 11th at 2 PM CST.