COLUMBIA — Coaching a team that is playing without its two leading scorers is not an ideal situation for any coach.
Missouri women’s basketball coach Cindy Stein was without Amanda Hanneman and Jessra Johnson on Monday night. The pair was arrested, suspended and then reinstated to the team last week, but did not dress for the game.
That was the least of the Stein’s troubles against Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
In the first half of their game against the Golden Lions at Mizzou Arena, the Tigers (8-2) lost two more starters. After scoring her 13th points of the half, Shakara Jones went down hard. The junior grimaced in pain as she was helped off the floor and headed to the training room with six minutes remaining in the half. Then, two minutes later, senior Marissa Scott went to the training room in a similar fashion.
Despite playing the entire second half without Jones and Scott, the Tigers were able to beat the Golden Lions 81-50. With so many things going against the Tigers, a number of things were going through Stein’s mind when those two starters went down.
“Nothing printable,” Stein said. “It’s one of those things where there’s a glimpse of, ‘What else is going to go wrong?' but at the same time, I was really confident in our team.”
RaeShara Brown said that the injuries didn’t affect the team’s morale during the game.
“Things happen in basketball. You know, you’re going to find injuries,” Brown said.
After the game, Stein said she kept Jones and Scott out in the second half for “precautionary” reasons. Stein said Jones had a sprained ankle, and Scott injured her knee. Both are expected to play in the Tigers game Dec. 28 against North Texas.
On Monday, Stein was forced into using her bench more than normal. The coach couldn’t recall utilizing her bench more in a game.
“That’s the first time (I’ve) had two starters out with an injury and they weren’t going to play the second half,” Stein said. “Never had that, knock on wood.”
Stein can thank Christine Flores for keeping the game out of reach against the Golden Lions. The sophomore has been a pleasant surprise lately for the Tigers. Flores recorded her second straight double-double, scoring a career-high 19 points and grabbing a career-high 14 rebounds. Flores did all this despite being sick. Flores has been battling a cold and threw up during halftime of Monday night’s game.
“You don’t want to think about how sorry you feel for yourself,” Flores said. “You think about the team the whole time, so you want to play your heart out for them.”
Tigers scored in the game. Freshman Trenee Thornton scored the first points of her Missouri career when she made a 3-pointer with under a minute remaining in the game. Brown, who led the Big 12 in steals last season, had seven steals in the game.
“The better you practice, the luckier you get,” Brown said. “Most of the time, I just end up being in the right place at the right time.”
It remains unclear whether Hanneman and Johnson will play in next week’s game.
“We’ll see,” Stein said “As I told them, they got to earn their time back. I think our team is making it tough, but that’s a great thing.”
In the meantime, Hanneman and Johnson have impressed the coach at practice.
Stein said, “Right now, they’ve been the two best scout team players we’ve had in a long time.”