Junior center lifts Tigers past Jennies

Christelle N’Garsanet records a double-double for MU with 20 points
and 14 rebounds.
Sunday, November 14, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 10:47 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 4, 2008

“Cautiously optimistic” is a term stock analysts use when a company’s profitability is uncertain.

But after the Tigers’ 71-52 win against Central Missouri State, women’s basketball coach Cindy Stein sounded like she was pitching buys on Wall Street.

“Overall, I see some great signs out of us,” Stein said after Friday night’s exhibition game. “I’m a little disappointed in some areas, but it’s not something you can’t fix.”

Stein cited confidence and discipline as two key elements the young team will hope to build on.

“We’re still very young, and we’re still in the growing stages,” Stein said.

Junior center Christelle N’Garsanet’s double-double performance certainly was a surprise.

The 6-foot-3 N’Garsanet showed she may have a breakout season. With 14 rebounds, she doubled her career rebounds, and her 20 points towered over the 3.1 points per game she averaged last season.

She played 29 minutes, more than she has played before. Last season, N’Garsanet was on the court 3.6 minutes per game.

“Christelle’s just getting better and better,” Stein said.

Stein said some of the team’s weak spots reflected her attempt to develop players’ skills at different positions.

“I’ve got kids that are having to learn numerous positions so we can have the best players out on the floor all the time,” Stein said.

Stein inserted some youth into her lineup with Kassie Drew, a starting freshman guard. Though Drew didn’t seem afraid to take a shot, taking the first of the game, she struggled overall. She shot 3-of-12 from the floor.

“I was a little nervous to begin with but it wasn’t that bad,” Drew said. “I’m still learning and all the coaches and players are helping me, so it was a good experience.”

Stein said she was pleased that 5-8 junior guard LaToya Bond, who had 14 points, is “totally dominating the point guard position.” She said Bond has stepped up in the absence of some of last season’s leaders.

The Tigers committed 22 turnovers, only three fewer than the Jennies. Missouri’s rebounding also faltered and Stein said she wanted to see improvements in the team’s discipline.

Three-pointers were Central Missouri State’s saving grace. The Jennies shot 40 percent in the first half and 50 percent in the second.

Shooting percentage separated the Tigers early. The Jennies shot just under 35 percent for the game, while Missouri hit 45 percent overall.

Missouri’s defense fell apart in the second half. The Tigers forced eight turnovers in the second half, compared with 17 in the first half.

Missouri next faces Northern Illinois at 3 p.m. on Nov. 19 at the Hawkeye Challenge in Iowa City, Iowa.

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