Bond, Tigers seek stability

MU coach Cindy Stein is expected to return to the bench tonight.
Wednesday, February 16, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 10:15 p.m. CDT, Friday, July 18, 2008

Streaky is an adjective used to describe something that is unreliable.

This season it is an accurate description of the Missouri women’s basketball team.

The Tigers are on a two-game win streak after ending their eight-game losing skid on Feb. 9 against Colorado.

Tonight, Missouri will try for its third three-game winning streak of the season. Missouri (9-13, 3-8 Big 12 Conference) plays at No. 7 Baylor (19-3, 9-2) at 7.

Missouri coach Cindy Stein will return to the team after a nine-day absence. She was in Peoria, Ill., where her father, Dave, died on Friday. Associate head coach Betsy Yonkman took control of the team during her leave.

The team’s recent play is no surprise to Yonkman.

“Collectively, they’ve embraced a choice on who they want to be now and laid a foundation for what they will accomplish in the future,” she said.

“I see a lot of youthful energy,” Baylor coach Kim Mulkey-Robertson said. “They’re young, and they’re playing very well right now.”

Missouri point guard LaToya Bond struggled with her consistency, and consequently, so did the team.

After her 3-pointer at the buzzer at Colorado and an assertive performance against Texas A&M on Saturday, Bond appears ready to become the Tigers’ leader.

“For LaToya, and truthfully for all of our players, the things that they’ve done this past week have really always been within them,” Yonkman said.

Bond finished Saturday’s game with 14 points, eight rebounds and seven assists.

Baylor is holding a 14-game home win streak.

“Really we haven’t played bad,” Mulkey-Robertson said. “I just attribute it to the competition.”

Missouri center Christelle N’Garsanet is coming off an energized performance against Texas A&M on Saturday.

In her 26 minutes, N’Garsanet dominated the interior with her 6-foot-3 frame, making easy layups and blocking shots. She finished with 23 points and five rebounds.

N’Garsanet’s effectiveness against Baylor’s inside play is a big question mark.

“Their inside game is one of the best in the country, and that’s something they’ve been very successful with all year long,” Yonkman said. “That’s a real concern of ours.”

Baylor is led by its dominant forward Sophia Young.

For two years, Young averaged double-digits and acted as a leader for the Bears. She received little acknowledgement outside of Waco, but not this season.

“She’s certainly deserving of it (recognition), and I don’t think we can say she’s under the radar anymore,” Mulkey-Robertson said.

The 6-foot-1 Young is the third-leading scorer in the Big 12 with 17.9 per game. She has led the Bears in scoring 13 times, including their past three games.

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