COLUMBIA — If inexperience on the Missouri women's basketball team is going to be a factor in the 2011-12 season, it didn't show Tuesday night.
Missouri beat Truman State 82-54 in the season's first exhibition game at Mizzou Arena, due in large part to junior college transfer Liene Priede and freshmen Kyley Simmons and Bree Fowler.
Simmons, a point guard, spent most of her 30 minutes on the court passing the ball to open players, racking up five points, five assists and two steals in her first game in a Missouri uniform.
"She does a tremendous job of running the offense, she can guard hard, she can really get a transition going north and south," Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said. "We'd like her to look for open shots a little bit more in the first half."
It's not as if Missouri were lacking in the shots department, however. Fowler, Priede and senior Christine Flores combined for 45 points, leading Pingeton to think versatility in Missouri's offense will be a significant factor when the regular season starts Nov. 11.
"That's just the kind of team we have," Pingeton said. "You can't just have one or two players who puts a team on their shoulders."
Flores, who averaged 13 points last season and shouldered much of the scoring burden last year, wants the team to use outside shooters such as Fowler and Priede more often.
"If we get it in and kick it back out, and we're hitting shots outside, that's really going to help us," she said. "I'm confident that any one of my guards can hit the three if I need them to."
Fowler shot 2-for-4 from 3-point range and Priede shot 3-for-4 from beyond the arc.
Those numbers are especially important for a team that averaged only 59.4 points per game and 5.2 3-pointers last season, but Pingeton thinks this year's team has something previous squads have lacked.
"Our newcomers come in with a lot of energy and a lot of passion," she said. "It's a freshness to them that's really spread to our entire team. We needed it."
Although Missouri's victory was lopsided — they never trailed and led by 29 points midway through the second half — Pingeton and her team insisted they are not yet ready for the start of the season.
"We're not set on any rotation or any starting lineup by any stretch of the imagination," she said. "There are so many areas we've got to continue to develop."
Missouri plays another exhibition game against Missouri-St. Louis on Nov. 8 at Mizzou Arena before they open the regular season when they visit Texas-San Antonio on Nov. 11.