In her career, Carlynn Savant has always been known as a good outside shooter who isn’t afraid to put up a long-distance shot. More often than not this season, it’s gone in.
But entering Wednesday night’s game against Colorado, the Tigers’ coaching staff wanted the junior forward to focus on her production much closer to the rim and without the ball. She, along with the rest of the team, wasn’t showing the desire to rebound like coach Cindy Stein wanted.
Savant responded in a big way by pulling down 13 rebounds and adding 14 points in Missouri’s 69-49 victory over Colorado at Mizzou Arena.
“They just asked me nicely if I would rebound,” Savant said tounge-in-cheek. “I told them that I would.”
The Tigers (14-3, 4-1 Big 12 Conference) entered the game ranked last in the Big 12 in rebounding and Savant said she was out to change that. She showed that by getting into position quickly under the basket and set the tone for the game by grabbing nine rebounds in the first half.
“Once you get in the flow of rebounding it feels like that if you’re in the right spot at the right time the ball just kind of falls into your hands,” Savant said.
Savant said Stein has placed the biggest emphasis on rebounding in practice by constantly running drills to practice blocking out. The results came on Wednesday night. Missouri grabbed 11 more rebounds than Colorado (6-11, 1-4).
Stein said the team was as down as she has seen them this year after losing at Texas on Jan. 14 and needed to focus on beating Colorado. That started with zeroing in on the team’s rebounding problems and keeping Colorado’s forwards away from the basket.
“I thought we hit the boards well,” Stein said. “We wanted to beat Colorado to each ball. I felt like we did that tonight.”
Savant said the loss to the Longhorns was “like a dagger to the heart.” But it was Savant throwing the daggers on Wednesday. She led a balanced attack for Missouri and was one of four starters in double figures in points. She took advantage of the Buffaloes’ defense collapsing on senior guard LaToya Bond when she penetrated.
Colorado coach Kathy McConnell-Miller said that before the game her team knew stopping Savant would be a key, but that the Buffaloes weren’t quick enough to try and contest the hot-shooting Savant.
“She’s the first (forward) that has been that dangerous from the 3-point line,” McConnell-Miller said. “So we were a little bit out of our forward’s comfort zone to go out there.”
Not everyone noticed Savant’s double-double though. Junior forward EeTisha Riddle was surprised to hear her teammate’s final statistics.
“It was a quiet double-double,” Riddle said laughing. “I knew she was rebounding but I didn’t know it was that good. That’s good. That’s big-time right there.”