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The Big 20

Missouri looks to build for NCAAs

Although the Missouri women’s basketball team has reached the postseason each of the past four years, its glass seems half full.

Coach Cindy Stein led Missouri to the second round of the WNIT in March 2000, its first postseason appearance in six years. The Tigers then made their magical run to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament the next year and looked like a program on the rise.

Contract sign of Pinkel’s resolve

Prolonging his “career commitment,” Missouri coach Gary Pinkel signed a contract Friday that will keep him at MU through 2008.

The contract guarantees Pinkel $1.07 million per year. The figure combines a base salary of $250,000 and $820,000 in supplemental money.

Home grown

On the basketball court, Missouri has undoubtedly dominated the majority of the state’s headlines. As a result of in-state recruiting successes in the past three years, though, the No. 5 Tigers might also have become the dominant recruiter in Missouri.

8-man big deal in small towns

ST. JOSEPH — Mitchell Scarbrough was tired. The rest of his team was celebrating after winning a state championship, and Scarbrough was joining it, but he was a step behind the rest of the team.

A mixture of sweat and rain was causing his eye black to run down his face, bruises on his arms were starting to show and he was walking with a slight limp. He wasn’t complaining. When you’re the team’s starting quarterback, safety, punter and leading rusher, you have an excuse to be tired.

Bales leads Tigers to 12th at NCAA meet

Amanda Bales led the way to Missouri’s best cross country finish since 1984.

Bales earned All-American honors by finishing 23rd at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in Waterloo, Iowa, on Monday. The Tigers finished 12th for their best finish since 1984, when they were seventh.

Defeat doesn’t destroy Tigers

Maybe Missouri went temporarily crazy, or maybe it realized that losing to red-hot Kansas State wasn’t that bad. Either way, as the Tigers prepared to leave KSU Stadium after losing 24-14 on Saturday, they had a different demeanor than after their other losses.

Players weren’t embarrassed as they were at Kansas, or in disbelief as they were at Colorado. There was no near-immediate acceptance, as there was after Oklahoma.

Tigers tangle with OSU again

Missouri wrestlers dominated the semifinal rounds of the Missouri Open on Sunday, but familiar competition stopped them in the finals.

About 400 wrestlers from more than 20 teams competed on 12 mats at the fourth annual tournament at the Hearnes Center Fieldhouse. Five Tigers wrestlers reached the finals, the most from any team. Only one gained a title, though, with two falling in their finals to wrestlers from Oklahoma State.

A new translation

Just ask Missouri freshman Linas Kleiza. He will tell you that he is an emotional player who relies on passion on the court.

“Oh, I definitely am emotional,” he said. “That’s what gets me going out there.”

Stein gets 150th win in season opener

PEORIA, Ill. — Career games by Megan Roney and LaToya Bond made it a happy homecoming for Missouri coach Cindy Stein on Sunday.

Stein, a native of Peoria, Ill., earned her 150th career win with Missouri’s 77-51 season-opening victory against Bradley at Robertson Field House.

NCAA race next step for Bales

Even after winning the NCAA Midwest Regional women’s cross country meet, Missouri sophomore Amanda Bales said she isn’t depending on a victory in her next race.

“I don’t ever go into a race expecting to do well,” Bales said, “but I like to finish it knowing that I left everything out there on the course.”

Tigers’ offense stymied

MANHATTAN, Kan. -– When what usually works didn’t, Missouri seemed stunned.

The Tigers came into the game with the No. 6 running offense in the nation, but finished with 109 rushing yards. Combined with a sporadic passing game, Missouri had trouble accomplishing anything on offense in its 24-14 loss to Kansas State on Saturday at KSU Stadium.

North dreams head South

MANHATTAN, Kan. –- One thing stood between Missouri and the Big 12 Conference championship game.

A better team.

Wildcats end Kewps’ title hopes

Scottie Guthrie guaranteed a state championship. The bad news for Guthrie and the Hickman Kewpies was he promised a state title for the Kewpies next year.

The Blue Springs Wildcats defeated Hickman 17-7 in a Class 6 state semifinal Saturday. The No. 1 Wildcats (12-0) advance to play Hazelwood Central in the final at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis on Friday.

Cougars advance with win

When Columbia College’s Jaime Diestelkamp tore her right anterior cruciate ligament in practice Nov. 14, there was concern that she might not be able to play again this season. It seemed unlikely that she would serve the Cougars to the NAIA National Tournament.

Saturday afternoon at Southwell Arena in the Region V Tournament championship, Diestelkamp did just that. Wearing a brace on her leg and limited to serving duties for the third match in a row, she polished off Columbia College’s nerve-racking 30-19, 30-20, 34-36, 30-24 win against Central Methodist, serving the final six points to put the Eagles away.

Abron gets few opportunities

MANHATTAN, Kan. — If Zack Abron had consistently gotten the opportunities he had in the second half, he would have become Missouri’s rushing king and MU might have been the king of the Big 12 Conference North Division.

Instead, Abron and the Tigers fell short of a win and a record.

Sproles sets KSU game rushing mark

MANHATTAN, Kan. –- Darren Sproles might be as purple as his fans after all those yards.

Sproles, Kansas State’s junior running back, had 273 yards rushing against Missouri to set a game school record. Mike Lawrence held the record with 252 yards.

Tigers eager to get started

Cindy Stein is taking her team and going home.

Stein, the Missouri women’s basketball coach, returns to her hometown of Peoria, Ill., today to take on Bradley, where she spent five years as an assistant coach.

Defenses harass QBs

In a close game, sometimes the quarterback is the player who has to make the plays.

Blue Springs beat Hickman 17-7 on Saturday at Hickman to advance to the Class 6 state finals. Blue Springs will play Hazelwood Central on Friday in the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis.

Missouri upsets No. 1 Cowboys

FLORISSANT — Oklahoma State has a tradition of winning, but Missouri’s wrestling team made history Friday night.

The Tigers defeated the Cowboys 21-17 in front of 1,721 fans at Hazelwood Central High. The Tigers won for the first time in 29 tries against the Cowboys (2-1), snapping OSU’s 24-match winning streak.

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