TIGER TIPOFF: Pingeton's rotation taking shape for Missouri women's basketball team

Friday, February 4, 2011 | 6:00 a.m. CST
Missouri sophomore guard Sydney Crafton sprints with the ball past Tennessee-Martin defender Perica Glenn on Dec. 7 at Mizzou Arena.

COLUMBIA — Robin Pingeton has a vision for the Missouri women's basketball team. The Tigers' coach has stressed "staying on course" to reach success.

The win-loss column does not necessarily equal success for Pingeton, though.

The women's basketball team might not be focusing on maintaining a strong record, but at 11-11 and 3-5 in the Big 12, a new-found player rotation has Missouri in eighth place in the conference. They were predicted to finish in the bottom two in the Big 12.

Seven Tigers played at least 10 minutes in the team's most recent win over Nebraska on Wednesday. BreAnna Brock played eight minutes. 

Sydney Crafton most recently took control of a game. She surpassed her career-high 16 points in the first 13 minutes of the game against Nebraska, finishing with 19 points.

"With her, it's exciting, but it's frustrating, too," Pingeton said after the game. "It's exciting because that's the kind of potential she has. It's frustrating from the stand point of where's that sense of urgency, that toughness consistently."

Crafton's shooting prowess forced the Cornhuskers to abandon a 2-3 zone early in the game, a defensive formation that shut down inside play but left the team susceptible to outside shooting. By bringing the defense to her, Crafton's play opened up space for Missouri guard RaeShara Brown late in the game. Brown scored 12 points in the final minutes of the game, sealing the victory.

Nebraska coach Connie Yori said her team was not prepared for Crafton's 17 first-half points. Her "hope defense" of a 2-3 zone did not pay dividends.

"They have kids that can hit some shots, kids that don't necessarily hit a lot of shots for them," Yori said after her team's loss to Missouri. "They weren't super deep in returning (players), but you've got kids that have been through a lot of battles. 'Rae Rae' (Brown) and Shak (Jones) are two of my favorite players in the league."

After taking a 17-point lead into half time, Missouri let Nebraska back into the game. At one point in the second half, the Cornhuskers took a 61-60 lead. But Pingeton was impressed with her team's ability to stay in the game.

"I thought we bent, but we didn't break. That's big," Pingeton said. "I don't know two months ago if I could say the same thing."

Missouri will need to remain flexible if they are to find success when they host Kansas State on Saturday. Nine players for the Wildcats average at least 11 minutes per game.

Brittany Chambers and Jalana Childs lead the way. Childs scored a career-high 21 points in Kansas State's win over Missouri two weeks ago in Manhattan, Kan. Chambers is leading the Wildcats with 14.9 points per game and a 36-percent average from the 3-point arc.

In the earlier meeting between the teams, Brown scored more than half of Missouri's points, achieving her own career high of 33 points. Although Kansas State narrowly won 66-63, only four players scored for the Tigers.

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