Offense running smoothly for Missouri women's basketball team

Sunday, December 16, 2012 | 6:19 p.m. CST
Missouri senior center Liz Smith takes the court before the Tigers' 110-47 victory over Southern Illinois on Sunday at Mizzou Arena. Smith scored 10 points in the game, second to her career-high 14-point game against Missouri State on Dec. 6.

COLUMBIA — The past three games have shown why Missouri women's basketball coach Robin Pingeton never worried about her team's offense.

Missouri scored more than 90 points for the third consecutive game Sunday in a 110-47 victory over Southern Illinois at Mizzou Arena. Pingeton attributes the recent success to the development of post player Liz Smith.

With players such as Morgan Eye, who leads the nation in 3-pointers, and Sydney Crafton, who ranks No. 5 for her 63.3 field goal percentage, Pingeton said she never doubted her team's ability to shoot.

But Smith's impact on the court can't be measured in points.

"I think it's huge what she's doing for us," Pingeton said. "Liz is playing with more confidence and with more experience. To be able to get what we’re getting out of that position is so important."

In the past three games, the undersized 6-1 post player has totaled 22 rebounds after grabbing just 14 in the first five games combined.

"Those first couple games this season, she played a little bit tight," Pingeton said after Missouri's 91-77 win over Missouri State. "Hopefully this is the game that she can kind of take that deep breath and say, 'It’s going to be OK.'"

Smith said that lately in practices and games, she has been in a good place mentally.

"A lot of it has been because of the visualization I do before the games," she said. "I try to put myself in the game. See myself boxing out on the court."

Smith averaged 8.5 minutes a game last season, playing behind Christine Flores and BreAnna Brock. She now averages 18.5 minutes and has started nine of Missouri's 10 games.

“We don’t need her to be Christine Flores or BreAnna Brock,” Pingeton said. “We need her to be Liz Smith.”

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