COLUMBIA — Bekah Mills and Kendra Frazier are from southeast Kansas. Since they left to play basketball for the Missouri women's basketball team, they found that the rivalry between Missouri and Kansas is more intense because of reactions they get from friends back home.
"I think it just adds to the rivalry," Mills said. "We catch a lot of flack for coming to Missouri when we're from Kansas. It's always good to get a win against them so you can brag to everybody back home."
"When you think about KU, you think about the basketball program and the football program and how much goes into it. I think about how crazy sometimes the rivalry can get. As players, it brings up more of an intensity level for us a little bit. We take kind of a different approach to it because we want it so bad."
—Missouri guard RaeShara Brown
"As a team, we weren't too much worried about the rivalry. We were more worried about the game, just approaching it as the game. For me, I don't even think about the rivalry. I just want to win. It's like another game for me."
—Missouri forward BreAnna Brock
Mills and Frazier can brag after the Tigers defeated Kansas, 66-52, on Wednesday at Mizzou Arena.
Neither Mills nor Frazier were able to contribute to the win, though. Each is recovering from torn ACL ligaments in their right knees.
As fans stood to cheer for Missouri's 30-27 halftime lead, Mills walked off the court toward the locker room with a pained expression on her face. Her right leg was protected by a black and yellow knee brace. She tore the ACL in November against Tennessee in the Paradise Jam tournament.
Mills had been practicing with the team in recent weeks without wearing a knee brace for support, but she irritated the ligament in practice Tuesday.
“It was already torn, and, when it’s torn and I move weird or cut, it just kind of gave out on me. There was nothing to keep it stable," Mills said.
Frazier tore the ACL in her right knee when she was going up for a lay up and landed weird in the first week of spring training. She has not played this season.
Missouri's play encouraged Frazier.
"I feel like watching your teammates succeed is really inspirational," Frazier said. "I get really excited when we’re playing against Kansas."
The excitement was also felt among the 1,632 fans at Mizzou Arena. The atmosphere peaked in the second half when the Tigers went on a 15-0 run.
Mills felt the crowd's energy from the bench.
“You still get excited," Mills said. "You still want your teammates to do well and be successful. I wanted to be out there more because it’s Kansas, but that’s a big win for us tonight.”