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Tigers look to break road barrier

Thursday, February 19, 2009 | 8:45 p.m. CST; updated 10:50 p.m. CST, Thursday, February 19, 2009
Baylor guard Kelli Griffin, right, and Missouri guard Raeshara Brown, no. 23, battle for a rebound during the Tigers' game against Baylor University on Saturday in Waco, Texas. The Tigers have struggled on the road this season. Their last road victory was Jan. 3, but the team hopes to improve this record Saturday when they travel to Nebraska.

COLUMBIA — Ever since the Missouri women’s basketball team started Big 12 Conference play, its season has been a tale of two cities — or several cities.

At home in Columbia, the Tigers have gone 9-5 this season and 3-3 since conference play began, including victories over rival Kansas and No. 16-ranked Kansas State.

Saturday's game

Missouri (12-12, 3-8 in Big 12) at Nebraska (11-13, 2-9)

When: Feb. 21 at 7:05 p.m.

Where: Lincoln, Nebraska



But when the Tigers have traveled away from the confines of Mizzou Arena they have struggled. Their last road victory was a 76-65 win over Duquesne on Jan. 3. Missouri has lost six of its nine road games this season, including all five conference road games.

A look at the Tigers’ statistics suggests this isn’t a fluke. At Mizzou Arena, the Tigers have held opponents to an average of 48.8 points a game, while outscoring them by an average of 12 points. On the road, the Tigers score nearly the same amount of points but allow 20 points per game more than at home. On Saturday, the Tigers will look to reverse that trend when they travel to Nebraska.

“You know you’re not going to have the crowd behind you,” senior Alyssa Hollins said. “So we have to generate our own energy. It’s a concentration thing.”

But Missouri coach Cindy Stein said her team’s focus should have less to do with playing away from home and more about building a streak.

“I think that the next challenge for us is not necessarily that it’s a road game,” Stein said. “But trying to get two (wins) in a row here. We’re just constantly trying to build off of something positive that happened in the previous game and building on that for the next game.”

The last time the Tigers put together consecutive victories was on Jan. 6, when they defeated Chicago State for their eighth win in a row. After that win, Missouri dropped its conference opener to No. 14-ranked Texas A&M and proceeded to lose seven of its next eight contests.

Stein said she hasn’t talked to her team about its road struggles because that can sometimes be counterproductive.

“I think sometimes you can harp on it so much that it becomes more of a barrier than a motivational thing,” Stein said. “I think if you look across the board, everybody struggles on the road in the Big 12.”

MILLS’ STATUS UNCERTAIN

Redshirt freshman point guard Bekah Mills injured her right knee in Saturday’s game against Baylor and sat out Wednesday’s game against Kansas State. Stein said she is still not sure if Mills will play against Nebraska.

“She didn’t get to go through a full practice today (Thursday),” Stein said. “A lot of it will depend on how she reacts to practice today (Thursday) with the swelling or anything like that.”

Stein added that Mills is definitely not at 100 percent, but that she would have played against Kansas State if the coaches would have allowed her.

Mills missed all of last season after she tore her ACL in the same knee.

The Tigers (12-12, 3-8) play at 7:05 p.m. Saturday against Nebraska (11-13, 2-9).


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