COLUMBIA — A shot bounces off the rim of the basket, and a cluster of hands gravitates toward the ball. BreAnna Brock’s fingertips reach above all the others, and she tips the ball downward into her possession for the defensive rebound.
The Tigers started slow against Missouri-St. Louis on Tuesday night at Mizzou Arena, trailing by eight points in the middle of the first half, but Brock's play put the Tigers back in the game and eventually lifted them to a 62-48 win in their final exhibition game of the year.
After teammate Kyley Simmons cleanly placed a pass between two oncoming defenders with about six and a half minutes left in the first half, Brock picked up the bounce-pass and placed it softly in the basket. Then she did it again. And again.
Brock finished the game with 29 points, making 13-of-19 baskets. She also added three assists and six blocks, but she still wasn’t satisfied.
"The stat board looks good, but at the same time, I know I have something to work on, and as a team we have something to work on," she said.
Missouri coach Robin Pingeton praised Brock’s accomplishments but said she expects a lot of Brock this season.
"She played a lot of minutes for us last year, but we weren't putting the pressure on her, 'You've got to have a double-double night in and night out, and your margin for error is about this big,' " Pingeton said, creating a miniscule space between her pointer finger and thumb. "That's a whole other level of expectation and pressure to play with."
To add to that pressure, two of the Tigers' regular starters, Christine Flores and Sydney Crafton weren't on the court tonight, apparently benched for disciplinary reasons.
Of Flores, Pingeton said, "We're laying a foundation, and there are certain expectations and certain standards that we are going to run our program by, and we're not going to waver."
This put an extra load on the team's five new players who haven't practiced without Flores and Crafton.
Sophomore Tori Niemann responded by sinking four 3-pointers and adding 14 points, second only to Brock's scoring total.
After the game, Pingeton said she is ready to head back to work tomorrow to watch more film, help the players break down the game and continue to get better in the process.
"Nothing is going to be easy this year," Pingeton said. "It's going to get tougher before it gets easier, but we're in it for the long haul, and I know these young ladies are, too. We're just going to fight, claw and scrape our way to get better every day."