COLUMBIA — When Robin Pingeton began her press conference after the Missouri women's basketball team's game against Kentucky, she sounded as happy as any coach who had just watched her team lose by 26 points could be.
"It's been a challenging week for us," Pingeton said. "Awfully good Kentucky team. Awfully athletic."
"I was proud of our girls, though. I felt like we competed. I feel like we've improved since playing Tennessee."
She rattled off a list of areas where she had seen the team make progress.
Transition defense. Rebounding. Offensive pacing. Preventing turnovers.
"We're coming," she said. "We're growing. We're getting there."
With her team off to a 1-3 start in the Southeastern Conference, Pingeton focused on the team's progress instead of the 69-43 loss to the No. 6 Wildcats on Sunday at Mizzou Arena.
The team also suffered a 31-point loss at No. 13 Georgia and a 45-point loss at No. 9 Tennessee.
Although she watched her team lose, she also watched her team claw back to a 10-point deficit after initially falling behind 23-4.
Pingeton watched her defense prevent Kentucky from scoring a field goal for a stretch of eight minutes during the first half.
She watched Sydney Crafton, her senior veteran, create plays that helped keep Missouri within striking distance, leading the team with 11 points.
She saw her team grab 37 rebounds to Kentucky's 40 and create 11 turnovers to Kentucky's 15.
As she met the media on Sunday, Pingeton looked at the team's week off with an eye toward the future.
"I don't feel like our girls were deflated," Pingeton said. "I didn't feel like they hung their heads. I don't feel like they're feeling sorry for themselves. I feel like they're embracing this challenging, athletic SEC conference."
One thing was clear: their coach certainly is.