COLUMBIA — During the opening minutes of the Missouri women’s basketball game Thursday night, not much was going right for the Tigers.
Missouri struggled to find the basket, while Texas-Pan American jumped out to an 8-4 lead five minutes into the game.
That lead didn’t last long.
Despite missing her first two 3-point attempts, Missouri senior Amanda Hanneman kept firing away. In a span of less than three minutes, the Tigers made five consecutive 3-pointers, three from Hanneman.
The five 3-pointers were the only ones the Tigers made in the half, but they were enough to give the Tigers a 41-18 lead at the half. Missouri went on to beat the Broncs 83-34 at Mizzou Arena.
“We hit a few threes in a row and Amanda was a part of that. We just got some great shots in,” Missouri coach Cindy Stein said about the first half run. “We hit a couple threes and it pumps our team up.”
Coming into the season, it was unclear who would fill the scoring void for the Tigers, when they lost last season's leading scorer Alyssa Hollins to graduation. Senior Jessra Johnson, who averaged 13 points a game last season, was expected to pick up some of the slack, which she has. But Hanneman has taken on a huge role as well with 13 points a game this season. The senior is a big reason the Tigers have started 6-2.
“I think Amanda’s a great shooter, I give her crap all the time. I tell her she can’t shoot inside the arc,” Stein said.
Hanneman has been plagued by nagging injuries throughout her career at Missouri. This season, the senior has shown what she can do when healthy. But not completely healthy. Against Ball State on Saturday, Hanneman had her jaw knocked out of place. After getting it popped back into place, she went back into the game.
“I’m going to play like it is,” Hanneman jokingly said when asked if her jaw was back to being 100 percent. “But it’s getting better.”
After going 0-7 from behind the arc against Bradley on Tuesday, Hanneman didn’t shy away from putting up a few shots against the Broncs (1-9). She has rarely been one to pass up an open shot this season. Her seven 3-point attempts on Thursday night lowered her 3-point attempts per game to 8.4 a game.
“I came in early before shoot around and just got my mind right. You can never have two bad nights (in a row). That’s how I look at it,” Hanneman said. “You just got to keep shooting. That’s what I say to myself every time.”
The Missouri women’s team now has a better record (6-2) than the Missouri men’s team (5-3) — something many thought incomprehensible before the season began. While it is early, it says something about the direction the women’s team is heading.
“Our men have a great team. I know they had a tough one last night (at Oral Roberts), but they are going to be ready for Big 12,” Stein said. “We think we both have great teams that we want everybody to watch.”
Thursday's game was the first of six consecutive games for the women's team at Mizzou Arena. Its next game is at 1 p.m. Sunday at Mizzou Arena against Murray State. Stein was especially pleased to begin this stretch at home with a victory after her team’s ugly win at Bradley.
“(This victory is) Huge. Especially after the game at Bradley. That was the ugliest game we’ve seen in a long time,” Stein said. “It’s good to be home and play a lot better.”