Big 12 coaches noticing Pingeton's program despite winless conference record

Thursday, February 9, 2012 | 10:23 p.m. CST; updated 9:01 a.m. CST, Friday, February 10, 2012

COLUMBIA — It's not on the scoreboard. It's not in the team's record.

The Missouri women's basketball team (10-12, 0-11 Big 12) has yet to win a conference game.

Coach Robin Pingeton's second season at Missouri seems to be a regression from her first. Eleven games into conference play last season, the Tigers were 12-13 with four conference wins.

So where can confidence in this season's team be found?

Missouri travels to Oklahoma (15-7, 7-4 Big 12) on Saturday. The Tigers' 62-59 loss to Oklahoma at Mizzou Arena in early January was their closest conference game this season.

Pingeton has said throughout the season that building a successful program is a process, a journey. That journey doesn't seem to have gone far, but other coaches in the Big 12 are taking notice and crediting Pingeton for how she is building her program.

"Coach Pingeton is doing a very great job, and she is going to take this program to a very high level," Texas Tech coach Kristy Curry said.

Since becoming head coach in 2006, Curry has has earned a 104-80 overall record. In conference play over the last six years, Texas Tech is 33-58.

Last season, Texas Tech finished 8-8 in conference play. It was the first season the Raiders did not have a losing conference record under Curry. That year, the Raiders appeared in the NCAA tournament seeded No. 8, losing in the first round.

"We are just a couple years ahead of her in the journey, and it takes time," Curry said. "She has done an unbelievable job, and I love her team and the things that she is doing with them."

After defeating Missouri 65-52 on Wednesday, Iowa State coach Bill Fennelly wanted Missouri to know how lucky it is to have Pingeton.

"You have a hell of a coach," Fennelly said. "It's hard to lose, and it's hard to look forward, but Robin Pingeton and her staff are some of the greatest people I've met. Missouri's lucky to have her as a coach."

From his time spent with Pingeton, Fennelly said it is her passion and dedication to the team and program that will eventually find Missouri success. 

"The commitment in her eyes and in her heart for this place is amazing," Fennelly said. "Your time is coming."

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