By Matthew McFarland
It was another disappointing loss for the Missouri Tigers women’s basketball team on Wednesday, Nov. 13 as they lost to the Panthers of UNI by a score of 78-73. A program that has been solid for such a long time looks to have some serious holes. Wednesday’s loss was a semi-historic one, marking the first time the Tigers have been 1-2 since 2008.
This team offensively is incredibly talented, with the likes of impressive scorer Amber Smith and the No. 9 recruit in the nation, Aijha Blackwell. The main question lies at the defensive end. Missouri’s front-court defense has been solid, as would be expected with the likes of Hannah Schuchts. However, in both the transition and perimeter aspects, the Tigers have been weak. The Panthers thrived from beyond the arc, hoisting up a jaw-dropping 42 3-pt bombs, converting on 15 of them.
The Tigers also struggled with another crucial fundamental: rebounding. Missouri has been out-rebounded in every game, and on Wednesday night it proved detrimental. UNI had 12 offensive rebounds and overall shot the ball 16 more times than Mizzou. The Panthers shot 7% lower from the field, yet still made more field goals than the Tigers.
Yet another blight on the Tigers performance on Wednesday was free-throw shooting, especially in the fourth quarter.The Tigers, namely Amber Smith, struggled from the stripe. In a game where Mizzou lost by 5, they left 9 points at the table on the line. Shooting 15-24 overall, Aijha Blackwell struggled both from the field and the line, shooting 3-11 from the field and 2-7 at the line, a disappointing follow-up to her 21-point performance against Nebraska.
On the positive side, the Tigers shot much better against UNI as compared to Nebraska. As a team they shot 47% from the field and 50% (10-20) from deep range, which makes the free throw struggles all the more puzzling. The Tigers also cleaned up their turnovers as the game went on, finishing with 16, three better than their numbers against Nebraska, and not a horrible number considering the Tiger’s turnover count sat at eight early in the second quarter.
Overall, this team has been frustrating to watch early on in the year; a team clearly immense in talent, but lacking in proper fundamentals and seemingly in a bad headspace. If this team wants to reach its potential, it needs to grow defensively and play better as a team. Do the little things right. Very reminiscent of another Tiger’s sports team that plays across the street in Faurot, isn’t it?
The Tigers will next go to Wisconsin to take on the University of Green Bay and their unique “Phlash the Phoenix” mascot.
Edited by Emma Moloney | firstname.lastname@example.org