After COVID postponed their matchup last season, the Tigers and Billikens get their chance to face off,
Any game against an in-state rival is destined to be a great matchup, but what makes it even more enticing is when players from the area get to come back to play where they grew up. Such is the case for Missouri’s road game against Saint Louis University this evening. For the first time in her career, St. Louis area native Aijha Blackwell will get to play just 20 minutes from where she grew up in Berkeley, Mo..
The last time these teams faced off was in 2019 in Columbia where Blackwell had a team leading 17 points and 6 rebounds in a 83-58 Tiger win. They were supposed to play last season, but a last minute COVID cancelation resulted in the game being called off day-of.
Missouri is 23-1 all time against St. Louis. Here are a few things they need to focus on in order to change that 23 into a 24.
— Mizzou Basketball (@MizzouWBB) November 16, 2021
- Crash the boards.
One of SLU’s advantages is their height. Their leading rebounder, Brooke Flowers, is averaging a nation-leading 15.5 boards per game. Interestingly enough, Flowers and Blackwell are tied in defensive rebounds per game with 10, per NCAA stats.
In order for the Tigers to win the rebound battle, and for Aijha to take the potential lead in defensive rebounds per game, they need to contest every missed shot, box out and contain Flowers are well as humanly possible.
2. Inside defense is a must.
SLU is a team that likes to drive to the paint and take close up shots. They don’t favor the three. Their leading scorer, Ciaja Harbison, is averaging a team-leading 19.5 points per game with 40% of her shots coming from two.
As a team, the Billikens have only attempted 27 of their 118 total shots from beyond the arc. Mizzou needs to focus on closing out in the paint, not allowing uncontested inside shots, and force SLU to take the jumper.
— Mizzou Basketball (@MizzouWBB) November 14, 2021
3. “Yeah, you want a hoop, so shoot, baby shoot”
Everyone knows that Mizzou is a shooting team. When you’re playing a team with height, you go for what you do best, firing the rock from way downtown.
The vet, Haley Troup, shot lights out from three against Morgan State, knocking down three. Hayley Frank joined the party, knocking down four. The Tigers are knocking down jumpers with ease. When they can’t get good looks down low, rely on the shooters to do what they do.
Same starting lineup as the first two games; Hansen, Dembele, Troup, Blackwell, Frank.