COLUMBIA — Looking through the Big 12 Conference statistics before the Missouri women’s basketball team’s game against Baylor, one stuck out. MU was second in the conference in three-point shooting percentage (36.6%), while they were at or near the bottom of the conference in most other statistics.
But in the last two games against Baylor and Texas, the Tigers have been woeful from beyond the arc. MU made just seven of 28 three-pointers as the Bears and Longhorns focused their defense on stifling MU’s perimeter attack.
Missouri (8-11, 1-5) at Texas A&M (14-6, 2-4)
WHERE:College Station, Texas
“I think they key on Amanda (Hanneman) and Alyssa (Hollins) because they’ve been pretty effective out there,” MU coach Cindy Stein said. “A lot of teams pressure, that’s their style of play. It’s just part of the game, we’re having to work at a higher intensity and I think that has a lot to do with it.”
As the Tigers’ perimeter production fell, the rest of the offense came down too. MU scored 57 points against Baylor and then had the worst offensive performance of the season in Austin. The Longhorns used a high pressure defense on the perimeter that often trapped beyond the three-point arc and harassed the Tigers into 23 turnovers and a season-low for points in the 67-37 loss.
“I think the most important thing for us is to get good percentage shots,” Stein said. “Obviously us getting an inside force is important and you help create that by hitting the outside shot.”
Junior guard Hollins is second in the conference in three-pointers made (2.63), but she was 0-for-3 from beyond the arc against Baylor and 2-for-7 against Texas. She said teams have been face-guarding on the perimeter, which has made it harder to get the high percentage shots Stein wants off, but the bigger reason for the drop in three-pointers is that the Tigers haven’t been executing their offensive sets well.
“Not to take away from what the teams are doing, but we are not necessarily doing what we need to do to get those looks,” Hollins said. “We’re taking a lot of quick shots in the offense and not necessarily allowing for the spacing to let those things open up. We need to show a little bit more patience and allow our offense to work for us...When I was getting those shots it was the motion set that we were in. It wasn’t just plays set up for that.”
Sophomore forward Hanneman , 10th in the conference in three-pointers (1.61 per game), said the team is beginning to adjust to the tougher defense and the Tigers will have toput in more effort to get open.
“We’re going to have to set better screens and come off them harder,” Hanneman said.
But the decrease in production hasn’t led to any extra shooting drills or an extra emphasis on getting perimeter shooting going once again. Quite the opposite, in fact.
“We’ve been focused a lot on getting the ball inside, actually,” Hollins said. “I’m guessing the logic behind that is that if you get inside, it’ll open up the outside.”
For Stein, the dip in three-point production is seen as easily correctable. The Tigers will make adjustments to help the shooters get open, but Stein doesn’t need them to do any complicated drills, just step behind the arc and shoot with confidence.
“You keep shooting,” Stein said. “We keep working on things and tweaking the offense to get better looks, whether it’s screens or passing or better passing.”