COLUMBIA- Missouri lost for the first time since December 14th and fell to (4-2) on the season thanks to a 74 to 59 loss at the hands of Alabama on New Year's Eve. Alabama finished the game on an 8-0 run and outscored Mizzou 40-25 in the second half to turn a close game into a comfortable win.
"I think it's gonna be hard to win games in the SEC shooting 37 percent," said Mizzou head coach Robin Pingeton. "We've got so much fire power. I didn't anticipate this being the issue tonight."
Aijha Blackwell once again led Mizzou in scoring, posting a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Ladazhia Williams and Hayley Frank also scored in double-figures for Missouri, scoring 12 and 11 points respectively. But Alabama's combination of Jordan Lewis and Ariyah Copeland proved too much for Missouri. Lewis led all scorers with 27 points and Copeland added 25 on an efficient 12 for 15 shooting night.
Missouri was playing its first game in ten days due to the Christmas holiday. Prior to that the Tigers had a 17 day layoff earlier in the season due to COVID-19 cases in the program. Pingeton said after the loss to Alabama that all of the rust from time off is starting to show.
"We went from quarantine to four games to Christmas break and we didn't have our legs," continued Pingeton. "Conditioning the last couple of days just kind of surprised me. "
Pingeton said that several bad practices leading up to the Alabama game added to the Tigers' struggles. She added that keeping players home for Christmas break could have prevented rust from building up but the team owed it to the players to allow them to spend the holidays with their families.
"Where we're at right now and everything that's going on, family time is really important," said Pingeton.
"We haven't practiced a lot as a team and I'm not making excuses, I don't believe in excuses," said Pingeton.
"You've got to embrace practice. It's not easy, it's not fun. There's nothing sexy about it but it's essential."
"I'm a true believer that you play like you practice," said Pingeton. "Somehow, some way we've got to step up and embrace that."
"I believe in this team. It's a marathon, not a sprint. We've got a lot of talent and I've said before we've got to put the pieces together."
Aijha Blackwell said the team will focus on correcting mistakes heading into the rest of SEC play.
"We'll really dive deep into film," said Blackwell. "And just really come back and reflect and look at everything before we play Arkansas."
"We're just not a finely oiled machine yet," added Pingeton. "We've got work to do."
Missouri turns around quickly with conference play underway. The Tigers travel to Fayetteville to take on Arkansas Saturday at 4 pm.