COLUMBIA — The Missouri men's basketball team picked up two more conference wins this week, as it continued to distance themselves from the rest of the Big 12 pack.
The women's basketball team also made waves, picking up its first Big 12 victory in dramatic fashion over rival Kansas. The baseball and softball teams, reminding us that spring is on its way, dusted off their cleats and played their first games of the 2012 season.
Men's basketball team keeps rolling
After a 72-57 home win over No. 6 Baylor on Feb. 11, the No. 3 Missouri men's basketball team had three days off to rest and prepare to avenge its second loss of the season. The Tigers did just that Wednesday, trouncing Oklahoma State at home, 83-65.
Senior forward Ricardo Ratliffe led the way in the win, posting 15 points to go along with 12 rebounds. Ratliffe, who was shooting 73.7 percent from the floor before the win, is the nationwide leader in that category. The senior is a threat to break the NCAA single-season field goal shooting record, set in 1980-81 by Oregon State's Steve Johnson (74.6 percent).
The victory was the 101st for five Missouri players, giving them the record for most career wins in program history. Guards Marcus Denmon, Kim English and Jarrett Sutton and forwards Laurence Bowers and Steve Moore have all been members of the team since the 2008-09 season.
Missouri followed up that performance with a 71-62 win over Texas A&M in College Station on Saturday. It was Missouri's first road victory against Texas A&M since 2001. Kim English led the team with three 3-pointers and 21 points, and sixth man Michael Dixon also contributed with 15 points of his own. After the game, Dixon said the team needs to continue focusing on each game with the same intensity.
As the wins keep piling up, head coach Frank Haith continues to make a strong case for himself as a National Coach of the Year candidate, as St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz can attest. ESPN.com columnist Dana O'Neil says that while Haith once had to live out of an old ticket booth at Elon University, he has now found the perfect fit.
Women's basketball wins its first conference game
The Missouri women's basketball team picked a heck of a time to win its first conference game of the season.
After losing the first 13 games of its Big 12 schedule, Missouri (11-14, 1-13) finally made a notch in the 'W' column Saturday night, beating rival Kansas in Lawrence, 70-65. Christine Flores led the Tigers with 24 points in the win, with Sydney Crafton and Kyley Simmons each tacking on 13 points of their own.
With the men's team gaining widespread recognition nationally and jumping to No. 3 in both major polls this week, the women's basketball team players say they have been both frustrated and inspired by the men's play this season.
Baseball and softball seasons get under way
The Missouri baseball and softball teams both kicked off their seasons this week, with varying levels of success. The softball team, competing in the Quality Inn Classic in Troy, Ala., won games against Ball State and Troy before falling to Eastern Kentucky, 6-5.
The baseball team began its season with a nod to the future, playing a road series against soon-to-be SEC foe Auburn. Missouri lost its first game, 5-2, but finished the weekend series up with a sweep of Sunday's doubleheader.