No. 20 Mizzou Women’s Basketball (13-1, 0-1) dropped its first game of the season, falling 71-55 to No. 12 Tennessee (10-3, 1-0) on Monday in front of 7,989 fans, the largest women’s basketball crowd in Mizzou Arena history and fourth-largest crowd in the 42-year history of the program.
The Tigers were just as quick as Tennessee at times and just as tenacious, but the execution wasn’t there as the Tigers opened up SEC play against the perennial powerhouse.
Mizzou was held to under 33% shooting for the game and for a team that makes a living beyond the three-point line, it just wasn’t there. The Tigers made just 2-of-21.
Two things that stuck out to me. There was a big difference in free throws. Mizzou made it to the line just 17 times compared to the Vols who went 32, including 21 in the first half to only four for the Tigers. Coach Robin Pingeton talked about getting called for some ticky tack fouls and turned the focus on her team, but its tough to gain traction against a high caliber opponent when the fouls are so lopsided and called on 50-50 balls. As I mentioned above, it wasn’t because of lack of quickness. The Tigers had a lot of energy in the first half.
The Tigers also had trouble handling the press. They picked the ball up too quick, got themselves in trouble in the backcourt and didn’t leave themselves much time to shoot in the offensive end. Missouri turned the ball over 14 times and the Vols converted 19 points.
Mizzou was down 30-17 midway through the second quarter and outscored Tennessee 9-3 down the stretch as the Vols missed their final eight shots of the half as the Tigers pulled to within 33-26. However, the Vols opened the third quarter with 9-0 run before Sierra Michaelis hit a three-pointer with 5:45 to play in the third. The lead reached as many as 16 in the third and got as high as 19 in the fourth.
Jordan Frericks led Mizzou with 11 points on 3-of-10 shooting. Frericks also had 8 rebounds. Sierra Michaelis was the only other Tiger in double figures finishing with 10.
It was a learning experience after facing some tougher competition after a light non-conference schedule. Frericks says Mizzou needs to be more aggressive.