COLUMBIA — Junior forward BreAnna Brock stood wide open in the corner of the court. After receiving a pass, she went up for the shot and drained an easy basket. As soon as the ball whisked cleanly through the basket, applause and cheers erupted from the watching crowd.
More than 200 people crowded into Brewer Fieldhouse at the MU Recreation Center on Saturday morning for a free breakfast and to watch Brock and the other members of the Missouri women’s basketball team practice as part of the annual Brewer Breakfast.
It might not have been a regular season game, but the intrasquad scrimmage held a similar intensity for the Tigers. When the hour-and-half practice was over the crowd gave the team a rousing round applause and cheers.
“The kids look like they’re doing great,” said Cheryl Kenter of Blue Springs, who was in town for the Missouri football game against Oklahoma but wanted to check out the women’s basketball team as well.
The players fed off of the energy and the support of the crowd.
“It gives you so much energy,” senior guard Jasmyn Otote said. “When you hear people calling your name, it just makes you want to do more.”
Many of the players thought that it was the best turnout they had ever seen at the breakfast.
“It always makes you feel good because we’re out there working hard and putting a lot of hours in to get better,” senior forward Shakara Jones said.
The fans at the breakfast came from all over and had varying degrees of experience with the team.
Columbia resident Tim Bilyeu brought his son and father to the breakfast. He had been to some of the women’s basketball games in the past but not in the last couple of years.
Bilyeu’s father had played in the high school basketball state tournament at the university in 1954, so Bilyeu wanted to show his dad the new facilities as well as check out the women’s basketball team.
“It was a win-win,” he said.
Season ticketholder Roy Hengerson, who has followed the team for seven or eight years, drove up from Jefferson City for his first opportunity to see this year’s team play.
While he thinks this season might be a rebuilding year, Hengerson said he is excited to see what a new coaching staff can do as well as the tough competition that Missouri will play.
“We have the Big 12 right here in Missouri so we get to see a really high-played level of basketball,” he said.