Crowd continues to grow for Missouri women's basketball

Friday, December 30, 2011 | 10:31 p.m. CST; updated 7:06 p.m. CST, Saturday, December 31, 2011
Senior forward BreAnna Brock fights to keep control of the ball from Jazmin Wiley and Britni Martin in the first half of the Missouri women's basketball game against Sam Houston State on Friday. Brock led the Tigers with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

COLUMBIA – The Missouri women's basketball team played in front of a crowd of 1,875 in its 66-48 victory over Sam Houston State on Friday at Mizzou Arena.

It was the Tigers’ largest crowd this season. They defeated Sam Houston State 66-48. The Tigers are now 10-1 on the season.

Sixth-grader Alexis Griffin sat in the front of the student section with teammates from her AAU girls basketball team, the Lady Warriors, who traveled from the Kansas City area to see the game. Alexis celebrated her 12th birthday on Dec. 22, and it has become a tradition for her team to see a Missouri women’s basketball game for her birthday.

“It’s always awesome,” Alexis said.

She began playing basketball in first grade and dreams of one day playing for the Missouri women’s basketball team.

Her father, Charleston Griffin, explained how his daughter tried softball and dance, but basketball seemed like a natural fit for her. 

“My mom went to MU, and my dad’s a sports fanatic,” she said, explaining how she got interested in Missouri women’s basketball.

Her mother, Jackie Griffin, attended MU from 1991-95. She received her degree in parks and recreation and is now a recreation therapist. She came up with the idea of having her daughter’s team attend a Missouri women’s game for her birthday, and the girls, especially her daughter, always enjoy it.

“It’s like a dream come true,” Alexis said.

Missouri head coach Robin Pingeton said she was pleased with the crowd, especially for a Friday night with the team playing a nonconference opponent. 

“I thought that was tremendous and certainly look forward to continuing to build that,” Pingeton said.

However, senior forward Christine Flores, who scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, said she thought the team did an awful job of trying to get the fans interested in the game. 

“I know that we could have played a lot harder, played with a lot more discipline, and the crowd would have gotten into it more,” Flores said.

In the Tigers’ win, senior center BreAnna Brock gathered 11 rebounds and led the team with 16 points. Junior guard Liene Priede dished out six assists.

As the Tigers begin Big 12 Conference play, Pingeton hopes more and more fans will attend games.

“I want to thank the fans that come out and ask that they just keep spreading the word and bring a friend next time because we’ve got some tough, tough games ahead coming up at home in the Big 12 Conference,” Pingeton said.

The Tigers will visit No. 1 Baylor on Wednesday before opening conference play at home against No. 13 Texas Tech on Jan. 7.


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