So last Sunday could have gone a bit better. Credit LSU for returning Danielle Ballard to the court just in time to wreck some serious mayhem. The suspension-sprung Tigress absolutely dominated the game with 25 points, 5 assists, 5 steals and only 1 personal foul. I wish the SEC much luck in containing her the rest of the season, because that woman is an absolute beast on the court. (And she's only a junior. Oh goody.)
Having had a full week to lick their wounds, the Cats hit the road again this weekend to take on those OTHER Tigers - no not Auburn, I mean those other OTHER Tigers - at Mizzou Arena. What should we expect to see Sunday, after seven days of preparation?
We should see a blow out. Mizzou is 1-5 in conference play, with their sole W a 66-47 drubbing of the Gators. Mizzou has beaten no ranked teams. Their offense is averaging a full 13 points less than the Cats per game despite shooting a mirror 39.6% from the field. The Cats have better ball movement. We turn it over less. We steal more. We have twice as many players who average double digits points per game. This should be a walk in the park.
Except there is no such thing in the SEC! Both teams have had a week to prepare for this, and both know the impact a win could have for their respective clubs. As such, prepare yourselves for yet another knockdown, dragout brawl. (Well, not as knockdown dragout as Alabama and Auburn but that was just weird.)
Mizzou players to watch include Jordan Frericks, who is an EXCELLENT shooter at 48% from the field. This prowess is somewhat balanced by her lousy shooting at the FT line, where she's a frigid 54%. That said, she's also a rebound machine, averaging 9.6 per game...she's basically a walking double-double. If the Cats can guard her and force her to take shots outside the arc we have a really good shot at shutting her down.We'll also need to guard Morgan Eye, the Tigers second best shooter, whose an equal threat in the paint and from downtown.
How do the Cats deliver the W tomorrow?
- We have GOT to get good performance from our bigs. Azia had 2 points last week, Kyvin had 3, and Alyssa had 4. They had the same number of points as fouls. That is not a key to success, and I'm sure Matthew Mitchell let them know it in practice this week.
- 26 turnovers to 79 points is not a good look, Cats. I know Mitchell has really been working with the squad on better ball management and that change needs to happen now.
- FT shooting, which has been a serious Achilles heel, is starting to improve! 84% against LSU, and 86% against South Carolina are numbers to be proud of. If we can start hitting >75% consistently that will be a great weapon as we close out conference play. In short: more please.
- Hitting our outside shots: anytime we can hit >38% of our threes I like our chances. Hitting 37.5% against LSU definitely helped to keep us in the game.
So in short: we should see a blow out, but probably won't, and hey, that makes for some fun - albeit frustrating - ball watching. And we'll be right here at ASoB, cheering our Cats on! Tipoff is 4 PM EST on the SEC Network - hope to see you there!