Missouri women's basketball benefits from bench players

Wednesday, November 13, 2013 | 9:01 p.m. CST; updated 6:54 a.m. CST, Thursday, December 12, 2013

COLUMBIA – Four minutes into Sunday’s game against SIU-Edwardsville, the Missouri women’s basketball team had scored only three points, courtesy of starter Lianna Doty.

At the next media timeout, coach Robin Pingeton turned to her bench. Everyone but Doty came off the court as four fresh players checked into the game. 

When play resumed, Morgan Stock took the next shot, a successful 3-pointer from the right side. At the end of the first half, Missouri’s bench had outscored SIUE’s bench 15-4. By the end of the game, Missouri’s bench had outscored SIUE’s bench 31-6.

The numbers didn’t shock Pingeton. The Tigers' bench outscored Saint Louis’ bench 20-14 in the season opener Friday. It’s something she expects to be a regular occurrence this season. 

“I will be surprised if there's too many games this year that we don’t outscore our opponent from the bench," Pingeton said, "just because of our strength and our kids rotating in and how many minutes they’re gonna play.”

She attributes the strong play from the bench to the depth Missouri has at every position. While coming in off the bench is not always easy, Pingeton knows her players can take advantage of the situation. 

“Sometimes when you’re not in that starting lineup and you’re more of a role player, you don’t have a chance to really get into the flow of a game,” Pingeton said. “But if you come in and you produce and things are kind of clicking for you, you got an opportunity to extend those minutes.”

Stock took advantage of those minutes in Sunday’s home opener. She scored a career-high 15 points, including three 3-pointers. Stock has learned to be prepared after coming off the bench for Missouri last season. 

“When I’m sitting on the bench waiting for my name to be called, it’s more of this ‘I have to be ready anytime, she could call my name anytime,’” Stock said. “I have to be ready to go out there and just play hard no matter what the score is, what’s going on.”

Stock and the rest of the Tigers are scheduled to play University of Evansville on Thursday night at Mizzou Arena. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. 

Missouri is 6-0 all-time against Evansville. Thursday’s game will be the first time since the 2011-12 season that the two teams have played. Missouri won that 2011-12 game 74-51.

Missouri plans to honor its military, veterans, police, fire and emergency personnel, who receive free admission to Thursday's Hometown Heroes game.

Future Tigers

On Wednesday, the Missouri women’s basketball team announced the signing of guard Carrie Shephard and forward Abrianna Porter. The two Missouri natives signed to join the Tigers beginning with the 2014-15 season.

Shephard is a native of Steele and joins Missouri when she ends her high school career at South Pemiscot High School, where she also plays softball and volleyball. Porter, daughter of assistant women’s basketball coach Michael Porter, joins Missouri after she finishes her high school career at Rock Bridge High School.

“They both fit our style and our system very well. We want kids that have a motor, passion for the game, and that are selfless," Pingeton said in a statement Wednesday. "We couldn’t be more thrilled. I feel like we are getting two first-class ladies into our program. ... They are tremendous students in the classroom and very talented basketball players.”

Supervising editor is Erik Hall.

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