Even though Iowa State’s Anna Florzak, a freshman, decided not to attend MU to play basketball, she’s still familiar with a couple of the players on the Tigers’ women’s team.
In high school, Florzak, of Kansas City, got to know Missouri freshman Amanda Hannemann, of Blue Springs, while playing on an AAU basketball team with her. The two also played against each other when their two schools, Notre Dame de Sion and Blue Springs South, matched up during the season.
“Amanda I know well, because I played with her for a year,” Florzak said. “We played on the all-star team together, and all summer long with the all-star games we had in Kansas City, I spent a lot of time with her. She’ll definitely bring a lot to the program over the next four years.”
Senior Tiffany Brooks played in the same AAU program, but on an older team. Although Florzak never played against her in a game, they played each other in practices.
“Tiffany was very good,” Florzak said. “Her team always did very well in the national tournament. Me being younger, I always looked up to those girls and wanted to grow up and have an impact like they have on their program. Just watching Tiffany over the years, I wanted to get the opportunity to play at the Division I level.”
The Tigers (12-2, 0-1 Conference) will play Iowa State in their first home conference game of the season at 1 p.m. Saturday at Mizzou Arena. The Cyclones (13-1, 1-0) enter Saturday’s game after beating Kansas 61-50 on Wednesday and on a 10-game winning streak.
After Missouri’s loss against Colorado on Wednesday, coach Cindy Stein said on her radio show Thursday night the team’s flight back to Columbia got in about 3 a.m. Thursday morning. Then the team had a tip-off luncheon that ended around 1 p.m., and it was still in practice a little before 6 p.m. when she left for the show.
The Tigers watched film Thursday for almost two hours, about 11/2 hours longer than usual, before practicing on the court and lifting in the weight room.
“We’re just going to learn from our mistakes at Colorado,” Brooks said. “I think our biggest mistake was, number one, fatigue. We didn’t push through, and defensively we didn’t play aggressive. We weren’t knocking down cuts. We weren’t in the passing lane, and we just let the posts go to work down low, and we can’t do that because they have great posts. Iowa State has great posts, so defensively, we’re going to have to step it up.”
Brooks said the loss to the Buffaloes was mostly because of mental mistakes, but that the taller Colorado team added to the Tigers’ problems. Missouri matches the Cyclones’ heights a bit more evenly, something Brooks said could make shooting less of an obstacle.
“I know personally, when I was taking shots, I had a hand in my face,” she said. “But yes, I think we can take advantage of that.”
Since her AAU days, Brooks said she had to “start from scratch” when she came to college. She said while she’s gotten more confident in her playing, the biggest change has been her increased aggression on offense.
“Coach Stein does a great job of knowing her players, and I think her offense is set around that,” she said. “That’s why so many of us are so successful. I also worked hard in the offseason, doing whatever I could to help myself individually, so I could help the team.”