COLUMBIA – At the top of the Missouri State women’s basketball website, a countdown ticks closer to game time. It’s been nine years since Missouri last played in Springfield, but at 7:05 p.m. Thursday, the "Lady Bears Host Missouri."
Thursday’s game is the first time Missouri (10-1) plays in Springfield since 2004. The Tigers lost that game 66-44. Overall, Missouri holds a 17-6 all-time record against Missouri State, with the Tigers’ latest win coming in a 91-77 victory in Columbia last season.
Missouri Tigers vs. Missouri State Bears
Where: JQH Arena, Springfield
When: 7:05 p.m.
Radio: KTGR 100.5 FM, 103.1 FM, 1580 AM
Television: Mediacom channels 12, 22, and 722, Charter Cable channel 12, Centurylink channel 12
Missouri coach Robin Pingeton is familiar with games at JQH Arena, having coached in the Missouri Valley Conference before coming to Missouri four years ago. Pingeton and her staff used practice to prepare their team for the tough environment.
Missouri State (2-6) averages more than 3,000 in home attendance per game. Pingeton expects the attendance to be more than 5,000 for Thursday’s in-state matchup.
"They’ve got a great fan base," Pingeton said. "When you go play on their home court, that’s gotta be about a 15-point advantage because they draw so well, and they’ve got a tremendous sixth man (the crowd)."
With just one more nonconference game after Thursday, Pingeton knows this game can be used as good preparation for away games in the hostile environments of the Southeastern Conference.
Missouri returns home to Mizzou Arena on Sunday for its last game of 2013. The Tigers play Western Illinois at 2 p.m.
Freshman block party
Before Monday’s game, Missouri freshman Jordan Frericks led Missouri with 22 blocked shots, averaging 2.2 blocked shots per game, ranking her third best in the SEC. She added six blocks in Monday night’s victory against Belmont. Whether with a block or a deflection, Frericks has been able to disrupt opponents’ offensive rhythms.
"Just getting in the passing lane and things like that will definitely help us," Frericks said after Monday’s game. "A deflection could lead to a turnover going the other way."
As of Monday, Missouri as a team ranks second behind South Carolina in the SEC for blocked shots. The Tigers have 55 blocked shots, with an average of 5.5 per game. South Carolina leads the SEC with 56 blocked shots, averaging 6.2 blocks per game.
Frericks also leads the team in both offensive and defensive rebounds. After Monday’s 15-rebound performance, the freshman forward leads the team with 93.
The first year starter sees personal growth in her first 11 games of the season.
"I definitely have been able to gain some confidence especially from the help of my teammates and coaching staff," Frericks said. "They really help me be able to go out on the court and be a lot more confident in myself."
Tigers on TV
Thursday’s game at Missouri State is the first of three Missouri women’s basketball game broadcasts on Mediacom 22 this season.
The two other games available to Mediacom viewers are home games against SEC opponents Georgia on Jan. 9 and LSU on Jan. 16.