[Disclaimer: As of 11pm, I still need to finish my softball preview, so I likely won’t include as many social media posts as usual since I’m also devoting time to this writing up top ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ ]
So… Mizzou Women’s Hoops played a game last night, a very important game, against the Kentucky Wildcats. As Lauren noted in their preview, the ‘Cats were on a four-game win streak, and were recently announced as one of the “last four out” in Charlie Creme’s newest Bracketology post for ESPN. This made the game even more important for UK, as it could go a long way in determining their NCAA future, while also serving as a very necessary win for the Tigers to avoid having not wait with bated breath on Selection Monday.
Problem is, Missouri put themselves at a loss before the game even started, because they had to play without leading scorer/rebounder Aijha Blackwell, top post-ish player, LaDazhia Williams, big bench contributor Kiya Dorroh, and Skylah Travis. That, my friends, is not a recipe for winning needed basketball games against good teams. Because yes, Kentucky is a pretty good team, despite what their record may indicate without further inspection — again, read Lauren’s preview — and especially considering they are led by one of the SEC’s best players and a future WNBA draft pick, Rhyne Howard.
#Mizzou WBB will be without Aijha Blackwell, Ladazhia Williams, Kiya Dorroh & Skylah Travis tonight against Kentucky. All 4 “did not meet the standards of the program”, same phrasing used for Blackwell’s recent absence against Georgia. pic.twitter.com/azshMICM6W— Ben Arnet (@BenArnetKOMU) February 25, 2022
“Did not meet standards of the program.”
What does that mean, exactly? Well, we aren’t sure. All we know is that each of these four players were on the bench in street clothes for the duration of the game, and at one point, the cameras caught AD Desiree Reed-Francois talking with AB. We also have gathered, from Max Baker’s postgame comments on the Twitter, this:
Pingeton said that of the players who sat out, not all of the situations were related to each other.— Max Baker (@maxbaker_15) February 25, 2022
So who’s to blame for this Tigers’ loss?
I’m not blaming the players on the court, that’s for damn sure. From what I saw of the game (i.e. the second half), they did as much as they could and undoubtedly put extra pressure on themselves to perform because of their missing teammates. So no, I’m not blaming them for this, even if they were the ones on the court. [FYI: Lauren will get into game specifics in the takeaways this afternoon]
I’m really proud of the team for their effort. They got so close on multiple occasions. https://t.co/tIeemheId7— Karen S (@karensteger) February 25, 2022
Is Coach P to blame? Should she have just said, “To hell with team standards!” and allowed the players to compete? Some may think so. I had this exchange on Twitter…
Are the players who had to sit out to blame? Whatever they were doing, why did they do it and put their team in jeopardy? I realize they are just college kids, but at some point, you have to be held accountable for your actions, right?
Again, we DO NOT know what all happened that led to this decision, but from my point of view (and Lauren’s, for that matter) you can be sure that Coach P thought long and hard about its implications before handing down the suspensions (that may or may not still be in effect on Sunday).
After the game, I perused Twitter for a bit, had the convo screen-shot above, and came across this from PM (presumably, Gabe).
This was similar to my initial thought when I heard the news that those four would be out. That if this impacts the Tigers’ NCAA future, I’m going to be soooooooo pissed. But again, who are we to be angry with, exactly? I just can’t blame Coach P for this, and I don’t know what PM is thinking about behind this tweet. Personally, I’m going to give Pingeton the benefit of the doubt here.
So, what say you, commenters? We know there are MANY teams in the NCAA who run into issues like these all.the.time, and as you go up higher in stature, it gets even worse. There are undoubtedly programs that allow their players to get away with literally everything [paging Art Briles, who found his way into the Thursday news cycle, ewww], but also coaches who choose to lead their players to be better humans and learn from mistakes, instead of excusing them.
Let me know below.
ON TO THE LINKS
Also, I start my new job early in the week, so when you hear from me next Links day, I’ll be a “Project Support Coordinator”… ooooh. I can’t wait, y’all. Since it’s officially official now, I made some social media posts about it, and man… it felt good to publicly state it, because I have been through it and I’m just glad to be in the light again.
Yesterday at Rock M
- Aaron continued his “One Returner and One Newcomer” series, this time focusing on the linebackers.
- Parker told us what he’s watching for in spring football practices.
- Lauren previewed the Kentucky matchup, and then also ran the Live Game Thread along with it.
- COMING UP: Another extensive softball preview from me, this time for the Mary Nutter Classic! And an LSU preview! And a recruiting post from BK! And a BTBS Pod! And Takeaways!
- The Tribune’s Chris Kwiecinski wrote, Mizzou Football’s defense is focused within this offseason.
- If you’re a St. Louis Post-Dispatch subscriber, you can access Dave’s thoughts on Mizzou’s uncertain QB crop, which has shades of ‘99 to it. You can also read his weekly chat… if you dare. If you’re not, I believe you can still read his Ten Q’s about Mizzou Football, which covers QBs, Luther, and much more.
- PowerMizzou’s Mitchell Forde wrote about Nathaniel Peat, who’s betting on himself in his return to CoMo.
- Women’s Recaps: Frank’s three point show not enough to top Kentucky (Shannon Mia Belt, Columbia Missourian). Missouri women’s basketball runs out of gas in comeback attempt vs. Kentucky (Nate Marcus). Tigers Fall 78-63 to Kentucky as Jayla Kelly scores career high 11 points (MUTigers.com). Mizzou women fade against Kentucky as four players don’t dress (Chris Kwiecinski, Columbia Tribune). Shorthanded Mizzou women lose to Kentucky (Max Baker, St. Louis Post-Dispatch). Shorthanded Mizzou women fall to Kentucky (Michael Howie, PowerMizzou).
- From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s BenFred: Reed-Francois faces first big Mizzou decision with Martin’s future, and we’ll learn a lot about her when it arrives
- The Missourian’s Anthony Kristensen previewed the Tigers upcoming game against… the Tigers, where they will come face-to-face with former teammate, X-Man!
- The Missourian’s Chris Blake previewed Missouri Softball’s weekend crop of games and you can also check out the MUTigers.com preview for The Mary Nutter Classic.
- Read Tanner Ludwig’s preview of the Louisiana-Monroe series for Bieser Ball and the MUTigers.com preview while you’re at it.
Other Mizzou Sports
- The Missourian’s Chad Silvey wrote, Putting stroke and building off FAU success will play big role for MU women’s golf at FSU.
- The Missourian’s Kenny Van Doren wrote about the Missouri Track and Field team, who is slated for their second-to-last indoor meet this weekend, as they travel to College Station for or the 2022 SEC Indoor Championships. According to his post, three Tigers — Roberto Vilches, Arianna Fisher and Georgi Nachev — are in line to qualify for the NCAA Championships this weekend. Go Tigers!
- According to MUTigers.com, volleyball will send five representatives to the 2021 U.S. Women’s National Team Open Tryouts, announced Wednesday by USA Volleyball. Graduate student Brynn Carlson, senior Anna Dixon, and freshmen Kayla Burbage, Kaylee Cox and Riley Buckley will visit Colorado Springs, Colorado, from Feb. 25-27. Good luck, ladies!
- Our No. 9 ranked Mizzou Gymnastics team sets its sights on another upset, this time against No. 7 Alabama, who they’ve never beaten, on the road in Tuscaloosa. Read the preview at MUTigers.com. Go get em!!!
Mizzou in the Pros
- Quin Snyder and Jordan Clarkson’s Utah Jazz will be back in action tonight to take on Mavs at 8pm for their first game post-All Star break.
- Tilly and the Magic were back in action on Thursday, taking on the G-Leaugue Nets. In Jeremiah’s 12 minutes of play — he fouled out, sadly — he had 12 points on 6-8 shooting, 3 REB, 1 TO, and all those pesky fouls. He was -1 on the night. Quite a shame he had foul trouble, as he was having a great night.
- The KC Star’s Pete Grathoff wrote about Blaine Gabbert, the former Mizzou quarterback who could be picked as the Buccaneers’ replacement for Tom Brady.
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