COLUMBIA — Jordan Frericks' head was spinning.
The freshman forward made her first start for the Missouri women’s basketball team in its 79-53 exhibition victory against Southwest Baptist University at Mizzou Arena on Tuesday night.
She said she was nervous and excited, but her play didn't show it. Frericks tied senior Bri Kulas for the team lead with 16 points. No single teammate advised Frericks before the game, but she said the team came together.
"We kind of all just talked, 'Go out there and have fun, get the nerves out.'" Frericks said. "That’s what we did. We obviously went out there and had some fun."
Frericks scored 13 of her 16 points in the second half. At halftime, Frericks got some help from her teammates.
"I was able to take a deep breath in the locker room," Frericks said. "My teammates calmed me down a little bit."
Frericks seemed to be all over the court, driving to the basket, drawing fouls and stealing the ball. Every time her arms went up, Frericks seemed to come up with the ball. Missouri coach Robin Pingeton was impressed with the freshman’s play.
"She’s pretty crafty around the basket," Pingeton said. "Defensively, with her ranginess, her ability to go get rebounds, I thought she played with really good poise both halves."
With a young team, the exhibition game is a good chance to get the nerves worked out. Pingeton saw Frericks become more comfortable as the game went on and expects the freshmen to be more at ease as the season goes on.
Kulas recognized the jitters but liked what she saw from the young players.
"I know they were nervous so they might not have wanted to take it to the basket," Kulas said. "But I think they did a good job of doing that."
Kulas, who led the team in points and rebounds last season, added 11 rebounds.
While Pingeton was impressed with the play of the freshmen, she was not impressed with one thing.
"I didn’t feel like our transition defense was where it needed to be," Pingeton said. "I didn’t like where our rotations were at defensively."
Pingeton plans to use this next week focusing some quality time on defensive adjustments.
Missouri is set to play Quincy in another exhibition game on Nov. 5 at Mizzou Arena. Missouri will play its first regular-season game at St. Louis University on Nov. 8.
Supervising editor is Nina Pantic.