COLUMBIA — Missouri women's basketball coach Robin Pingeton said freshman Lianna Doty would be a fan favorite this season. The 5-foot-7-inch guard's performance in Missouri's 88-46 exhibition win against Lindenwood on Tuesday at Mizzou Arena left no questions as to why.
"As a team, we brought a little more pressure on defense than last game," Doty said. "I think that's where the steals come from."
In her second game of her college career, Doty looked as if she had shaken off the nerves that restricted her first performance when she was 3 for 9 for only six points Oct. 30 against Lincoln. Tuesday, she remained focused, reading her opponents' eyes and swooping in to intercept passes, totaling seven of Missouri's 20 steals.
Missouri's defense was strong throughout the game, forcing 32 turnovers and holding the Lions to 31 percent shooting from the field. Pingeton said after last week's game that she wanted to improve on defense.
"Offensively, I'm not surprised by what we did. This is a team that shoots the ball extremely well," Pingeton said of Missouri's 55 percent shooting average. "Defensively, I think we've made some strides, but we've still got a lot of work to do."
Despite Missouri's lack of height, the team compensated by keeping pressure on defense.
"Do you have to be 6-6 to get those rebounds? Absolutely not," Pingeton said. "It's not the size of the dog in the fight. It's the size of the fight in the dog. And that's got to be our mentality this year."
Offensively, the team performed well. Bri Kulas had 16 points, and Maddie Stock had 19. But Pingeton said she is still not satisfied with the team's overall performance.
"This is a special group," Pingeton said. "It's just going to be a work in progress. I don't know that any coach is satisfied after the second exhibition game. It's too early in the season, and we're hard to satisfy."
As Doty weaved effortlessly through the clusters of black-uniformed opponents, she ended plays with no-look passes to teammates who usually didn't expect it, resulting in turnovers.
"Even though we are in Week 5 or 6, those girls haven't had the chance to really play with her style, and that takes some time to get used to," Pingeton said.
With the team still adjusting, players are revealing their potential.
"I'm twice as experienced as the first one," Doty said.