COLUMBIA — Up-tempo basketball is all the rage among Missouri basketball teams.
The Missouri women's basketball team has a new look this year, as Robin Pingeton takes over as head coach, but her style sounds like it is borrowed from the playbook of Missouri men's basketball coach Mike Anderson.
“We want to play baseline to baseline,” Pingeton said. “We want to create our offense with our defense. We want to be relentless on the boards, run a transition offense, and then we’re going to go into a motion offense, which is free flowing and allows for a lot of creativity on our players' part.”
Although the two styles are similar, the Missouri women’s team won’t play exactly the same style as the men’s team. The “fastest 40 minutes in basketball” approach, which has been successful for the men, involves a full-court press for the entire game. Pingeton isn’t sure how much pressing the women’s team will do this season.
“Time will tell (how much we press),” she said. “We would like to, but I don’t know if we’re going to have the depth right now to be able to do things like that. I think we’ll be selective on when we pick up in the full court and when we don’t.”
Pingeton's style proved integral in rebuilding the women's basketball program at Illinois State. In seven seasons coaching the Redbirds, she compiled a 144-81 record and two NCAA tournament appearances.
“We’re (the coaching staff) used to winning,” said Pingeton, who doesn't seem remotely interested that Big 12 Conference coaches picked Missouri to finish 11th in league play this season. “We came here to win. The expectations that we have of these young ladies are extremely high. I don’t know that the bar’s ever been quite as high as we’ve set it for them.”
The Missouri players are embracing Pingeton's drive as well as her style of play.
“Coach P has made it very easy to come in and adapt to her style,” senior guard RaeShara Brown said. “She has been very honest and open about what she expects from us. And at the end of the day, basketball is basketball.”
Senior forward Shakara Jones has also appreciated the change.
“In the past we wanted to play this style, but we had to play towards our personnel,” Jones said. “This year I think we have the personnel to run like that and get up and down on offense and defense.”
The Tigers will debut their up-tempo style at an exhibition game against Missouri Western at 7 p.m. Nov. 2 at Mizzou Arena.
In the meantime, they continue to run themselves ragged at practices, where most of the time is spent playing full-court, 5-on-5 basketball with few breaks.
But, as Brown said, the team the team is learning, "Everything is done with a sense of urgency with Coach P.”