Missouri coach Robin Pingeton knows that rivalry games mean more. A game against Illinois on Wednesday provides MU to get a statement win.

“There’s going to be no excuses,” she said. “We’ve got to make sure we’re locked in and ready to get after it.”

After a break last season, the Braggin’ Rights series resumes with the Tigers taking a trip to Champaign, Illinois, where they will look to improve their record to 11-2. MU’s upperclassmen will be looking to turn the tide from the last time these teams played which resulted in a 58-51 win for the Fighting Illini.

To change the result, Missouri will have to take care of the ball. The Tigers committed 20 turnovers Monday against Southern, continuing a trend of sloppy play that has been prominent since the Missouri State game.

“They (turnovers) are frustrating and mind-boggling,” Pingeton said. “We need to have the sense of urgency to value the ball or it’s going to haunt us.”

Wednesday’s game provides Missouri an opportunity to flip the script on its recent turnover struggles. Illinois gives the ball away 19 times per game, and with Missouri averaging 19 points off of turnovers, the Fighting Illini will be flirting with disaster for 40 minutes. Look for Tigers leading scorer Aijha Blackwell to get out in transition to cause the Illinois defense problems.

Another place Missouri will look for an advantage is from the 3-point line. Illinois has allowed teams to fire away from the 3-point line 23.1 times per game. That bodes well for sharpshooters Hayley Frank and Lauren Hansen to have big games.

For Illinois, its key to victory is going to be its depth. Head coach Nancy Fahey constantly rotates her lineups and has nine players that see more than 15 minutes per game. The standout among them is Aaliyah Nye, the 5-foot-11 guard who averages 11.7 points.

For Missouri, the result from the game will play a huge factor in determining the team’s morale heading into SEC play. The Tigers open conference play against No. 1 South Carolina.

Even with a 10-2 start, Pingeton knows that the Tigers are capable of playing better than they have.

“I think we’ve seen moments from different players throughout the first 12 games of the season,” she said. “We haven’t put it all together, though, and I’m excited to see what we look like when we do.”

  • Summer 2021 General Reporter. Reach me at natemarcus210@gmail.com or (201) 270-7962

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