Road trips help Missouri women's basketball team build chemistry

Sunday, November 22, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CST; updated 9:06 p.m. CST, Sunday, November 22, 2009

COLUMBIA — While waiting for a late bus, the Missouri women's basketball team decided to make its wait worthwhile.

The team started singing, karaoke style, in the parking lot of a Cheesecake Factory in Boulder, Colo.

Sunday's game

Missouri (1-1) at Indiana (3-0)
WHEN: 1 p.m. CDT
WHERE: Assembly Hall, Bloomington, Ind.

“That was probably the funniest moment we had last year. We had people walking by cracking up,” junior RaeShara Brown said laughing while recalling her teams trip to Colorado this past February.

One player in particular took it to a whole different level.

“We had a lead singer in Kendra Frazier. She was pretty into it,” Brown said.

Memories are made on road trips, but most importantly for teams, chemistry is built. The 2009-10 Missouri women’s basketball team plays its first road game at 1 p.m. Sunday at Indiana.

“We like to sing everywhere,” senior Amanda Hanneman said. “We try to make the best of it every time we go on the road. And we love to eat.”

Missouri coach Cindy Stein said going on the road has its share of funny moments.  

“Whether you have a bus driver that gets lost every time, or you got a bus driver that’s giving you the city tour on the mic,” Stein said smiling. “You just have something different on every trip.”

Winning on the road is not easy for most teams, and Stein’s teams are no exception. The Tigers have struggled the past two seasons, going a combined 4-17 on the road.

“It’s an environment you’re not used to,” Stein said. “Any road win you can pick off is a bonus. Learning how to win on the road is obviously a key element in getting to the postseason.”

For most road games, cheerleaders do not travel with the team. The players rely on each other to stay focused and motivated.

“It’s a lot harder (to play on the road). Since you’re not used to the court or the rims or just the arena itself,” Hanneman said. “And the fans aren’t there for you ... You just got to cheer up yourself.”

Hours and hours in a bus or plane do not make it any easier on the players. Getting tight muscles loose in warmups is tougher on the road.

“You just got to go shoot around and get the kinks out and warmups pretty hard so you won’t come in so sluggish,” Brown said.

A victory on the road, while not always easy, makes the trip home a bit more pleasant.

“After a loss, the bus ride or plane ride is going to be quiet,” Hanneman said. “We’re going to try and do the best we can to get over it, but at the same time we’re not going to be cheery, happy-go-lucky people that we would be on a win.”

Stein said while the trips home are much nicer after a win, they want to cherish the times they have together no matter what happens on the court.

“It’s a lot louder (after a win). I let them talk,” Stein said. “(But win or lose) we want to enjoy to enjoy our moments together. We have some good times.”

The Tigers would certainly like to win their first game on the road against Indiana, especially after what happened in the Tigers last outing. After leading by as many as 20 points against Memphis, Missouri ended up losing on a basket with just more than 12 seconds remaining.

“We got to bounce back,” Brown said. “You don’t want to lose two in a row because that starts affecting your morale.”

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