The Tigers cannot be with their coach to help ease her grief.
Instead, Missouri is sending a long- distance consolation to Cindy Stein.
The Tigers defeated Texas A&M 63-46 on Saturday night at Mizzou Arena.
Texas A&M coach Gary Blair’s first remarks concerned the Stein’s absence.
“A game is a game,” Blair said. “We’ll get over this game, Missouri will get over this game, but our thoughts are all out for Cindy and her family.”
Stein left the team early last week to visit her ailing father, Dave, in Peoria, Ill. On Friday morning, Stein’s father died, prolonging her hiatus from the team.
Associate head coach Betsy Yonkman is the interim leader for the Tigers.
During Stein’s absence, Missouri (9-13, 3-8) broke an eight game losing streak and has won its past two.
“I just thought they had a total team effort,” Blair said.
Team effort aside, Missouri center Christelle N’Garsanet executed in the interior, which is something she struggled with against Colorado on Wednesday.
N’Garsanet went 0-for-10 at Colorado, but started 6-for-6 against the Aggies (13-9, 3-8).
She said the poor offensive performance did cause a rift in her rhythm, and Yonkman added that N’Garsanet did not practice well in the previous two days.
“I was just down on myself and did not want to shoot anymore,” N’Garsanet said.
In dominating the smaller Aggies, N’Garsanet used her right and left hands to hook layups from both sides of the basket.
She scored 14 of her 23 points in the first half, allowing her to rest in the second.
“I’d like to have her because she played awfully well,” Blair said. “But it’s easy to score when you’re shooting from six inches, and that’s where she was shooting from all night.”
The Aggies’ main issue was their ability to shoot and make a basket. They just could not do it.
In the first half, their shooting percentage was 18.9 on 7-for-37 shooting.
It was the 6-foot-3 N’Garsanet’s size that hampered the Aggies, but Blair was still confused as to why.
“A lot of it was we were intimidated by size,” Blair said. “We were more intimidated tonight, for some reason than we were all year.”
The Aggies have no one over six feet tall.
Their shots were erratic and off-balance. While trying to penetrate Missouri’s defense, the Aggies lost their ability to square up and release accurate shots.
“I’d rather you get your shot blocked 15 times than go up and shoot over your shoulder like that and hope to throw it in,” Blair said.
A 6:52 drought did not help matters, and Texas A&M finished shooting 28.6 percent.
Morenike Atunrase was the only Aggie to score in double-digits with 10.
Missouri held a 20-point lead for the majority of the game, but could not hold on to the ball.
It had 27 turnovers that the Aggies turned into 25 points.
Part of N’Garsanet’s offensive performance can be attributed to the point guard play of LaToya Bond.
Bond consistently found her teammates, including N’Garsanet underneath the basket for the easy shot.
Blair said having a player who can be a leader is what his team is missing.
“This league is about point guards and point guards are extensions of coaches,” Blair said.
Bond finished with 14 points, eight rebounds, and seven assists.
The Tigers’ Carlynn Savant came up big on the boards.
Missouri outrebounded the Aggies 46-30.
Savant had pulled down all of her nine boards with 7:49 to go in the first, and finished with 10 points.
Missouri goes on the road next week to face Baylor on Wednesday.
Stein is expected to return Tuesday.