COLUMBIA — During warmups, it seemed like something was missing.
Noticeably missing from the Missouri women’s basketball teams bench were seniors Jessra Johnson and Amanda Hanneman. The Tigers two leading scorers were arrested and charged with third-degree assault early Friday morning. The players were suspended indefinitely for “violation of team policy.”
During the game, it seemed as if everything was normal. The Tigers improved to 7-2 after pummeling Murray State 71-32 on Sunday afternoon at Mizzou Arena without the two in the lineup.
However, following the game, the blowout victory seemed like an afterthought. In the locker room after the game, Johnson and Hanneman were not there to celebrate the win with their teammates. The two did not attend the game.
Instead of beginning the postgame press conference with a statement about her team’s performance, coach Cindy Stein first released a statement regarding her two suspended players.
“I do apologize to our community and our athletic administration and our whole Mizzou nation on the perception that these allegations have caused our fans, friends, everybody,” Stein said. “As we continue, as you know, we will be able to discuss this at a more appropriate time when we know more. At this point, we know the suspensions are indefinite and that’s all I will say beyond that.”
Stein later described the mood of the team the past two days.
“It’s pretty somber. It's not been happy. We understand the seriousness of everything,” she said. “At the same time, I felt like they were pretty focused (today).”
The win was the Tigers' fourth in a row and their third game in the past six days. The busy stretch has not allowed the team to think too much about the situation.
“We haven’t had time to really sit and think about the situation. We had back-to-back-to-back games, so we couldn’t harp on the situation,” junior RaeShara Brown said. “I mean it’s there, but basketball helps us look over it and not pay so much attention to it. We have to keep our focus at what’s at hand.”
The disappointment of losing two leading scorers was still obviously on some of the player’s minds.
“It’s kind of disappointing when you hear stuff like that with somebody on your team not allowed to play, regardless of the issue,” senior Toy Richbow said.
For some, basketball has been a way to forget about the difficult situation.
“The court is one place you can go away to get a lot of things off your mind,” Brown said.
Something else has also helped the Tigers get through the tough times so far.
“Laughter has helped us deal with whatever it is that is going on,” Brown said.
For the time being, the Tigers will have to move on without Johnson’s 14.1 points per game and Hanneman’s 13.3 average. The two will not be practicing with the team at this time. It is unknown when more details will be released regarding the charges.
“Coach Stein, she's told us to expect the unexpected. She’s pretty much prepared us for worst cases and stuff,” Richbow said. “At the end of the day, everything will come out well.”