Disclaimer: I wrote this entire top part on Monday night before the game on Tuesday so I could allow myself to focus on the basketball game and not have to worry about writing a bunch later.
Second Disclaimer: In retrospect, I have concluded I am VERY smart for doing this, so now I’m not forced to write about the Valentine’s Day Basketball Massacre.
Softball season is in full swing, and your Missouri Tigers are coming off a 3-2 weekend at the NFCA Division I Leadoff Classic in Clearwater with a loss to national runner-up/no. 6 Texas 11-1, a win over Fordham 13-3 in 6 innings, a win over no. 8 Northwestern 6-1, a win over Prairie View A & M 11-0 in 5 innings, and a loss to Louisville, 4-0. There were highs and lows of the Tigers’ opening weekend performance, just as there were highs and lows to the weather. We’ll get to the performances a bit later, but regarding the weather, Saturday’s Louisville game got rained out in the top of the 4th, but not before the Cardinals put up a 2-spot on Jordan Weber, who was having trouble gripping the ball as the weather deteriorated. And when the game resumed on Sunday on a blustery day — and I mean blustery, the winds hit 38-40mph — the Tigers finished their game against Louisville, leaving the weekend with an L.
Now the Tigers are continuing their extensive business trip in The Sunshine State with a stopover in Orlando, Florida to take on the UCF Golden Knights. Just itching to know more about the matchup? Well, friends, it’s a good thing I’ll have a brand-new preview up for you today!!! Get excited.
Larissa Anderson met with the media via Zoom on Monday morning from her hotel in Orlando while the team was having a free day. Since I was in attendance, I’m going to share some highlights:
On her team’s overall performance:
First time on dirt first time in cleats, first time on an actual mound. I saw some good things, and a lot of things that we need to continue to work on. I thought our pitchers threw through well. it’s always tough. We’re a little inconsistent. And the last thing I said to them yesterday is it’s playing maturity. We have inexperience. So that’s why right now we have a lot of peaks and valleys. But overall, I think we have some things to work on but kind of very pleasantly happy with where we’re at right now.
On what she learned about the team:
We played extremely well against Northwestern which really set the standard and it shows me what our potential is. And then we had a low against Louisville, so that kind of surprised me. Like I always expect the best set of my players, I’ve seen them every single day in practice, I know what they’re capable of doing. So that’s that emotional immaturity that we have right now that we have to just grow up and get a little bit tougher, so we don’t have those emotional levels.
On the lineups:
I think going forward, we are moving a lot of different people around in the lineup, I’m relying on a lot of people that haven’t been in that role before. Kara Daly is one in particular; I’m moving her all over the place to take some pressure off of her. She started off in the three and four hole and I think she finished up at the sixth or seventh, just so she can start feeling a little bit more comfortable in the batter’s box to see the ball a little bit better. She’s trying to do too much she’s trying to hit every single pitch rather than people aren’t gonna want to throw to her. I loved having Julia Crenshaw in that three hole. She’s someone who did not get a lot of playing time last year. I’m really seeing tremendous growth in her in a very, very short period of time, she was a highly touted high school player, one of the top 2 coming out of high school. Riley Frizell has power potential and the ability to spray the ball all over the field, but her power is pretty ridiculous.
On coaching the defense:
You know, it’s trying my patience, but I need to be patient and I need to continue to coach them. I can’t expect them to play like seniors, because then they’re just going to feel that everything they do is wrong. So it’s being there by their side when they do make a mistake. But the one thing is that our mistakes are not fundamentals. And we’re going to make sure that we’re fundamentally perfect all the time. Some of it’s just speed in direction of the ball. Because the game is a little bit faster when you’re playing against another opponent and we practice at a very, very fast pace, but we know what we do. So we know how to play against ourselves. And it’s, it’s having that same confidence when you’re going against an opponent.
On what they learned after the Texas blowout:
It was really just bringing awareness to it. Did we just play the way we’ve been practicing for the past five weeks? So it’s getting them to continually remind them that we’re only looking at our own program we’re only looking at ourselves and what we do; we don’t care what anybody else does. It’s playing hard, playing aggressive, being the aggressor on the field... I’ve never seen us make as many mistakes as we did. I do think has more miscues that Texas game that we had in the previous year. So it’s getting them that experience but also the expectations and the level that we have to play at all the time.
Whereas, against Northwestern we played Missouri Softball and let’s be more aggressive, we are more aggressive at the plate, we are attacking a lot more. We are way more aggressive defensively, it was it was really fun to watch them play because it was everything was in harmony. Texas, we were back on our heels in Texas really control that tempo. So carrying it over. And when you get those great defensive performances and the pitching performance, it doesn’t put as much pressure on your offense to be able to score runs.
On freshman LHP Cierra Harrison:
She’s very, very special. She’s got the It factor. And she’s that type of competitor. And she has a great unbelievable control. She has a great feel for the ball. I can talk to her like an upperclassman in terms of scouting reports because she has the ability to be able to read things herself. She already knows if she strikes out a kid and she starts walking off the field. Like I can’t teach that. And she hasn’t shown that swagger yet, because she’s still fairly new, but to have that internal instinct that she knows that the pitcher is going to be pretty nasty is pretty cool to watch. She reminds me a lot of Odicci Alexander.
You know, there’s not a lot of pitchers like her and I are going to continue to rely on her gave her a couple games to really get some games underneath her belt not throwing her to the wolves so to say, but I know that we’re going to rely heavily on her down the stretch so putting her in some more pressure situations.
- On Jordan Weber:
I know she got the ball in that game one. That’s how much I trust her. And I know we’re gonna continue to rely on her, so it’s putting her in some of the toughest games, because I know that she can respond. Her stats are not indicative of what she did and her performance, because we put her probably in the hardest games that we had.
- On what having new hitting coach Jeff Cottrill does for the team:
He’s so unbelievably consistent. What separates him from the other hitting coaches we’ve had is his experience. He’s played in three World Series; he’s coached at that level. So when he talks to the team and addresses things, he can say from experience, ‘these are the things that we need to do in order to be successful and play that next level.’ He’s very individual to every single hitter. He understands them as people as their personalities, the way their body moves, so their swing is more personalized to them rather than everybody has to do the same thing the same way.
On to the Links. MIZ! GO TIGERS!
Here’s what Mizzou should do with the tape from that game… pic.twitter.com/TYYh5VGY78— Mitch Hill (@Mhill_) February 15, 2023
Yesterday at Rock M
- Brandon previewed the Auburn matchup and included many a Valentine’s Day-related pun. Parker had the recap.
- The new Dive Cuts encouraged the AP voters to “rank us, you cowards.”
- Nate continued analyzing the performance of the running backs. Next up? Cody Shrader.
- In Josh’s new Revue, he compares Mizzou’s buzzer beater to Kiss, Kiss Bang Bang.
- IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Read Watkins’ new bracket racket, where he asks, if you write about college basketball on the internet but don’t have your own bracket projection, are you even covering college basketball?
- ROCK M QUOTE OF THE WEEK: (because my Digest is on hiatus)
“Think of him as Ryan Rosburg on that woebegone ‘15-’16 Mizzou basketball team: it’s cool that he’s “the guy” but it would be great if he didn’t have to be ‘the guy’.” —Nate Edwards, Running Game Part 2: Cody Shrader
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Mizzou women’s basketball season spirals in SEC play, perhaps beyond repair (Dave Matter) | How DeAndre Gholston’s clutch shots made him Mizzou’s one-year wonder (Matter) | Auburn throttles Mizzou basketball from the opening tip in MU’s most lopsided loss of year (Matter) | Tipsheet: Reeling Tennessee tries to recover after getting Gholstoned (Jeff Gordon)
- Columbia Missourian: Missouri falters on the road in blowout loss to Auburn (Jack Knowlton)
- PowerMizzou: Mizzou run over by Auburn on the road, 89-56 (Drew King) | Postgame Thoughts-$$ (Gabe DeArmond)
- Columbia Tribune: Where do experts project Mizzou basketball in NCAA tournament? (Matt Stahl) | Mizzou basketball struggles in blowout SEC loss at Auburn (Stahl)
- The Athletic ($$): Dennis Gates made Missouri basketball relevant right away, and he’s still got big plans (CJ Moore)
Dennis Gates could have been anything. After graduating from Cal in three years, he took the GRE, the MCAT and the LSAT. He was accepted into law schools and graduate programs. But Gates dreamed of being a basketball coach.
- Columbia Missourian: MU women’s basketball in need of late-season surge (Parker Gillam)
- Bracketology: Check out Lunardi’s latest Bracketology. And here’s the latest Bracket Matrix.
- Soph out there having fun at the Super Bowl
“Chiefs Kingdom, Baby!”— Phoenix Mercury (@PhoenixMercury) February 12, 2023
Sophie took her skills to the Super Bowl Experience pic.twitter.com/5b22pqC3jl
- See how the AP voters tallied their ballots this week at collegepolltracker.com.
- With the loss, Mizzou dropped 8 spots in KenPom, per Matthew J Harris. And before you click the tweet, yes the defense is still bad, especially when they’re not forcing steals or turnovers.
- Rally For Rhyan is Saturday. The best game of the year!
Saturday… it’s time to Rally!!! @RallyforRhyan @MizzouAthletics @MizzouHoops pic.twitter.com/86Z6BuuYMW— Brad Loos (@BradLoos_MIZ) February 15, 2023
Football/Nick Bolton Time
- PowerMizzou: Missouri Football 2024 Class Trends: Defensive Line (Sean Williams) | Spring Football Position Previews continue: Cornerbacks | Linebackers | Defensive Ends (Jarod Hamilton)
- St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Nick Bolton makes Mizzou history in Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory (Dave Matter)
- Kansas City Star: With Super Bowl scoop and score TD, KC Chiefs linebacker Nick Bolton lived his dream (Blair Kerkhoff)
LET'S GOOOO @_nickbolton2!!!! #RedKingdom#MIZ #MizzouMade pic.twitter.com/Wxv7JhrMl3— Martin Rucker (@RuckerSouthSide) February 13, 2023
- USA Today Network: How to make a 9-game SEC football schedule? I assign three rivals to each team (Blake Toppmeyer)
- Tee hee. These are funny. Make sure you click the tweet so you can see all of them.
February 14, 2023
Other Mizzou Sports
- SOFTBALL: Mizzou set to take on UCF Wednesday (Maddie Orr, Missourian) | Read the pregame notes at MUTigers.com.
- CLUB HOCKEY: The new Inside Mizzou Athletics Podcast chats with some members of Mizzou’s hockey team, who just qualified for the ACHA Nationals.
On this Inside #Mizzou Athletics Podcast, we chat with @MizClubHockey's Jacob Kasten & @hazeltron15 about winning the MACHA Silver title & their berth to @achahockey Nationals! Plus, more on MBB's big win on Rocky Top & KC Chiefs' SB LVII success.— Mizzou Radio (@MizzouRadio) February 14, 2023
- TIGER STYLE: Read the primer at MUTigers.com | MU wrestling looks for bounce-back win as Cyclones touch down in Columbia (Adam Ryerson, Missourian)
When was the last time we saw a match of this magnitude? #1 Keegan O'Toole vs #2 David Carr goes down tomorrow! pic.twitter.com/sSnnAY7xcC— FloWrestling (@FloWrestling) February 14, 2023
- SWIMMING: Let’s go, Jack! The Tigers are currently at the SEC Championships right now. Check out the pregame primer at MUTigers.com.
In the lead-off position in the 800M, Jack Dahlgren set a new pool record and a Mizzou school record with a time of 1:31.17. #MIZ pic.twitter.com/d1FQuji6xP— Mizzou Swim & Dive (@MizzouSwimDive) February 15, 2023
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