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Hayley Frank drops 29 in Mizzou WBB’s 83-72 victory over North Alabama

Despite a solid fight from the Lions, a vintage performance from the graduate propelled the Tigers to a bounce-back victory.

Cal Tobias/Rock M Nation

After getting handed their first defeat of the season by Saint Louis on Sunday, Mizzou WBB recovered with a bounce-back 83-72 victory over North Alabama on Tuesday.

Mizzou was physically superior to UNA, and it showed from the jump. Angie Ngalakoulandi established superiority under the basket early, as she racked up five points and three offensive rebounds in the first five minutes.

Despite shooting struggles early on, Mizzou’s dominance elsewhere allowed them to hold a comfortable lead. Like Ngalakoulandi, the Tigers dominated on the glass, outrebounding the Lions 15-8. Defensively, it felt like there were five Mama Dembeles on the court, as the senior registered four steals in the first ten minutes.

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The second quarter saw UNA keep the game relatively close. There were two main things that allowed them to remain within striking distance of Mizzou.

One was their ball movement. Against Mizzou’s 3-2 zone (which they were in for a large chunk of the half), the Lions swung the rock quickly and effectively, which created a handful of open looks from downtown. What they lacked in size they made up for in speed, as Pingeton noted after the game that a large reason the Tigers were in 3-2 was because it lessened the need for Mizzou to scramble on defense.

While UNA shot just 6/19 from downtown in the first half, it was the crux of their offense, as it made up 18 of their 30 first half points. Freshman Chloe Siegel was responsible for four of the threes.

“Our communication for such a close-knit group, it’s not anywhere close to where it needs to be,” Pingeton said. “{UNA) is a quick team...a lot of drivers and mismatches on the perimeter and constant movement. I know that can be hard to defend, but we’ve still got to be more disciplined with our defensive rotations and our stances and our one-on-one accountability.”

According to Pingeton, an improvement in defense starts with improving communication.

“We’ve got to be a lot more assertive using our voice,” Pingeton said. “It can’t be ‘you got shooter’. It’s got to be ‘Hayley, you got shooter’. Just a lot more direct in the way we communicate.”

The other thing that kept the Lions in the game was Mizzou’s sloppiness on offense. After registering just two turnovers in the first quarter, the Tigers quadrupled that number in the second quarter to eight. Similarly to their previous games, many of these turnovers were unforced.

However, Hayley Frank continued to look like her normal self for the first time this season. According to Pingeton, Frank had been battling injury as well as an upper respiratory virus over the first three games of the season. Although she coughed a few times in the postgame presser, she looked close to 100%, and it started in the second quarter. She led the Tigers in scoring with 10, which was the same margin Mizzou held over UNA at halftime.

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The Tigers opened the second half on fire defensively, and Dembele picked up her seventh and eighth steals before the 6:30 mark in the quarter, both of which she converted on the other end. Later in the quarter, she picked up her ninth. UNA shot just 1/5 from three and committed six turnovers in the third quarter.

However, the turnovers also continued for Mizzou, as they committed seven of their own in that same period. It led to a handful of fast break buckets for the Lions, as they entered the final 10 minutes of action down by just 11.

The fourth quarter was The Hayley Frank Show, as the grad student scored 13 of Mizzou’s 21 points in the period. She dominated in the painted area, converting five of her six two-point attempts in the final quarter. Abbey Schreacke also contributed a pair of triples, and despite a valiant fight from North Alabama, Mizzou walked away with an 83-72 victory.

Just like old times, Frank led the Tigers in scoring with 29 points, tying a career-high.

“I thought my teammates did a really good job of creating for me on off-ball screening action,” Frank said. “Got some really good looks on the tight cut.”

After not registering a charge against SLU, Frank took three charges against UNA, bringing her total to nine on the season.

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Grace Slaughter also dominated inside, finishing with 13 points and eight rebounds, Dembele finished with 12 points and 10 steals, the most steals a Tiger has had in a single-game since the turn of the century. Despite turning the ball over 23 times, it was almost canceled out by 22 turnovers by UNA.

The Tigers will be back in action next Monday when they host Southern Indiana at 7 p.m.