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Missouri women’s basketball draws Illinois State in WNIT

Coach Pingeton welcomes her former team to CoMo!

Missouri v Arkansas Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images

Mizzou finds itself with two basketball teams in the postseason for the first time in two years. Although the men are in the Big Dance, aiming to cut the nets down in my hometown of Houston, the women will compete for a WNIT title.

After a promising start to the regular season, all Tiger fans wanted was for the women to somehow make it to the tourney. Especially after last year’s sad omission. What doesn’t upset me, however, is the ability to compete in another postseason tournament like the WNIT. This is an opportunity to continue the season with a goal of a title.

Quick season facts for both teams

The last time the Tigers and Redbirds met was over 23 years ago when Mizzou defeated Illinois State 83-63 under storied head coach Cindy Stein. The Tigers lead the series 11-4. During the time of their last meeting on December 17, 2000 she was on Iowa State’s staff as an assistant coach.

Coach Pingeton has never coached against Illinois State or against Mizzou in their matchup, but as we know, she did come to Mizzou from Illinois State. Per, Coach P spent 7 seasons there, guiding the Redbirds to a 144-81 record, two MVC Tourney championships, and four straight 20-win seasons.


As a hater of the NET rankings, I am still obliged to write this in here no matter the pain it gives me.

Mizzou is currently ranked 56 in the NET as of March 13, 2023.

They finished the regular season with a 17-13 record and 6-10 in the SEC. They were defeated by Arkansas in the first round of the SEC tournament.

Mizzou is led by All-SEC Second team selection, Hayley Frank, who finished the regular season averaging 15.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game with a career high 30 steals.

The Tigers also boast All-SEC Freshman team selection, Ashton Judd. She averaged 7.4 points and three rebounds while shooting 46.8% from the floor and 45.9% from three.

As a team, Mizzou shot 35.8% from beyond the arc which is good for third in the conference.

Illinois State

Illinois State is currently ranked 88 in the NET.

They finished with a 24-8 overall record and 17-3 in the MVC, eventually losing to eventual conference champion Drake in the conference semi-finals.

Head coach Kristen Gillespie received conference coach of the year.

Paige Robinson led the Redbirds in scoring with 18.7 points per game which is good for third in the MVC. She also was awarded four conference awards including Newcomer of the Year and Player of the Year.

The Redbirds lead the MVC in three point field goal percentage at 37%.

I will have a thorough preview of the matchup on Wednesday. They face each other on Thursday, March 16 at 7 pm central in Columbia. The TV schedule is still to be announced.

Also, if Mizzou defeats Illinois State, they have the chance to face off against Kansas for the first time since 2011-2012.