COLUMBIA — The Missouri women’s basketball team has relied on three players all season to boost its offense. Junior guard Alyssa Hollins, sophomore forward Jessra Johnson and freshman forward Shakara Jones are the mainstays. But with Johnson, the team’s leading scorer, away from the team to attend her grandfather’s funeral on Saturday, the Tigers needed someone else to provide a third offensive option.
Sophomore forward Amanda Hanneman stepped into that role and scored 13 points and added two assists in the Tigers’ 70-51 win over Texas State at Mizzou Arena.
“That’s huge,” MU coach Cindy Stein said. “Obviously Jessra had been huge for us. I thought Amanda Hanneman did a very nice job of coming in and providing some points.”
That’s something Hanneman had not been able to do much this season because of a stress fracture in her right foot that caused her to miss the season opener. She had a team-high 16 points on Nov. 24 against Samford, but 19 total in the other four games she played in before Saturday.
She said her foot isn’t entirely healed, but the pain has decreased and she is able to block it out when she’s on the court. That’s good news for Stein, who is searching for somebody to take more shots.
“I’m encouraging some people to shoot a little bit more and look for their shot,” Stein said. “The tough thing there is getting them comfortable.”
Being comfortable taking a shot for many Tigers is an issue of assertiveness, but for Hanneman it was an issue of health. Her confidence in her shot allows her to lookfor scoring chances, and as her foot continues to improve her scoring average will likely keep climbing.
“I hope to be (a bigger part of the offense), everyone hopes to be part of the offense,” Hanneman said. “The team’s doing really good trying to get me, open so I appreciate that.”
Her performances against Samford and Texas State show that Hanneman can become a reliable option for the Tigers. When Johnson returns, Hanneman will be the team’s fourth offensiveweapon, but her ability to hit an open shot will make things easier for the other three.
“It will open a lot of things up, because Alyssa and Jessra are our main scorers and we’re trying to get them the ball,” Hanneman said. “When people collapse on me, (sophomore forward) Marissa (Scott) or (freshman guard) Jas (Jasmyn Otote), we get them open.”
While she knows she can make a three-point shot when needed, Hanneman said she needs to get better at protecting the glass to become a more complete player.
“I’m really bad at boxing out,” Hanneman said. “That’s what they (coaches) emphasize me doing in practice and I still have trouble doing it.”
BETTER DAY FOR JONES: One game after her worst performance in her young career as a Tiger, Shakara Jones bounced back on Saturday and had 20 points and 13 rebounds for her second career double-double. She said being more aggressive helped get her back on track after she didn’t score a point against Arkansas on Wednesday and scored just 11 points combined in the two games before that.
“I don’t know what’s been going on, but it hasn’t been good,” Jones said. “I didn’t care where I was going to be aggressive at, but I had to be aggressive.”