Missouri women's basketball team looks ahead to offseason

Thursday, March 15, 2012 | 7:37 p.m. CDT
Head coach for the MU Women's Basketball team, Robin Pingeton, reacts to a play during the team's game against Baylor on Feb. 1 at Mizzou Arena.

COLUMBIA — Now that the season is over for the Missouri women's basketball team, Tigers coach Robin Pingeton is looking ahead to a busy offseason.

After a loss to Oklahoma last week that knocked Missouri out of the Big 12 tournament and ended its season at 13-18 overall, Pingeton gave her players the week off.

But starting next week, Pingeton and her staff will begin individual workouts with the remaining players on Missouri's roster. She is preparing her team for the summer when she and her staff can't train players per NCAA regulations.

"They're intense. They're very challenging and demanding," Pingeton said of the workouts. "What we want to do is break  down fundamental drill work with our players and help them get a better feel and better idea of what they can do over the summer when we're unable to work them out."

Incoming freshmen aren't allowed to work out with the team over the summer, but Pingeton said all of her players will be here to prepare for the upcoming season.

Pingeton would not comment on the recruiting process, which ends in the second week of April, but her recruiting class looks promising. Maddie and Morgan Stock, twins from St. Joseph's Academy in St. Louis, have signed letters of intent to play for Missouri in the fall, along with Lianna Doty from Kirkwood in St. Louis and Ontario, Canada native Michelle Hudyn.

Maddie Stock was recently named the Gatorade Missouri Girls Basketball Player of the Year, an honor Pingeton said was indicative of the strides the Missouri program is making to recruit better players.

It is also evidence of Missouri's continuing efforts to draw state recruits to Columbia to play for Pingeton, which was one of the main factors Missouri Athletics Director Mike Alden considered when hiring her in 2010.

Missouri could have as many as seven or eight scholarships dedicated to freshmen and sophomores next season, indicating a youth movement is under way for the Tigers, who will lose veterans Christine Flores, BreAnna Brock and Bailey Gee.

Having players Pingeton recruited herself will allow her to implement her style of play, one that focuses on physicality, rebounding and motion, more and more..

"When we talk about our style, it's extremely uptempo with versatility on the perimeter for our players to take shots," Pingeton said. "We like to change it up, I'd like to press a little bit more right now, but we don't have the depth."

Missouri's transition to the Southeastern Conference will also mean new territory for the Tigers. Pingeton said she and her staff have already begun scouting SEC teams, getting a feel for the coaching styles, rosters and offensive and defensive schemes.

"They've had a lot of success on the women's basketball side in the SEC," Pingeton said. "It's going to be tough. We've got to get acclimated to 12 new teams."

Eight of 12 SEC teams had winning records and made it to the NCAA Tournament.

Still, the SEC could be a slight step down for Missouri from the Big 12 Conference. The ratings percentage index, or RPI, is a system used by the NCAA to rate a team's strength based on its wins, losses and the strength of its schedule. The Big 12 had the highest RPI of any conference in women's college basketball. But the move should allow Pingeton to begin reaching south for new recruits.

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