I don’t know who would’ve thought this to be true before the season started. Mizzou women’s basketball is the best thing coming from Mizzou Arena right now, and it’s not even close. Like the men just were, the women are riding a three game losing streak. The difference is the women are actually facing really tough competition.
This three game losing streak includes a 12 point loss on the road to then 20th ranked Georgia, a 10 point loss on the road to 7th ranked South Carolina, and a four point loss to 2nd ranked and undefeated Mississippi State last night. But last night taught me something. These women are fighters. They fought clear to the end, something I think the men should take notes on.
To put the game into perspective, in 22 prior games Mississippi State had two single digit games. The last time it happened was on December 3. They beat Georgia on the road by 24, they beat LSU on the road by 13. Simply put, the team hasn’t been tested for a long time. Until they came to Mizzou Arena.
Let’s just recap all of the lead changes and ties throughout the night
8:22 – Mississippi St 2-0
8:12 – Tied at 2
7:43 – Mizzou 4-2
6:22 – Mississippi St 8-6
6:04 – Mizzou 9-8
5:44 – Tied at 9 and Mississippi St 10-9
5:03 – Mizzou 11-10
8:44 – Tied at 16
7:58 – Mississippi St 18-16
7:27 – Tied at 18
5:36 – Mizzou 21-18
3:32 – Mississippi St 39-38
2:30 – Tied at 40
1:17 – Mississippi St 41-40
7:40 – Tied at 43
6:59 – Mizzou 45-43
6:31 – Tied at 45
6:07 – Mizzou 47-45
4:35 – Tied at 47
3:36 – Mississippi St 48-47
:10 – Tied at 53
:04 – Mississippi St 55-53
Breathe. If you counted, that’s nine ties and 14 lead changes in one game excluding a full 12 minutes of play from the second quarter into third. In that time, Mizzou went up by as much as 10 but a shady third quarter that saw them only post six points was the ultimate factor.
A questionable charge call on Mizzou’s last possession while down 2 doomed them. I wasn’t a fan of it. I think when it comes to late game situations these whistle happy refs should go home. Unless it’s a blatantly obvious foul, let the kids play the game. It wasn’t the reason they lost, but it was pretty frustrating.
Still, this team is pretty special. They brought over 5,000 fans to Mizzou Arena last night. They beat South Carolina, who was ranked 4th at the time, last month. They’ve even developed a rivalry with South Carolina.
I’m not going to get into the rumors and allegations. Word is some South Carolina fans spit and shouted racial slurs at Mizzou players. I wasn’t there, I’ve never seen a video, I’m not going to confirm or deny it happened. I hope it didn’t. Regardless, these two teams don’t really like each other. The scrap they had the last time they played proves that much. When’s the last time Mizzou women’s basketball had a rival?
They’re 17-5 and 5-4 in the SEC. That puts them middle of the pack, but three of the teams they’ve lost to are the current top 3. They play with effort and they play whistle to whistle. They’ve got a legit shot to make a run in the SEC Tournament.
At the end of the day, Mizzou women’s basketball has earned my respect, and they should earn your respect too. Who would’ve guessed it? With all the hype the men got coming into the season. Of course MPJ’s presence could’ve changed things, But right now, at Mizzou Arena, the spotlight is shining on Mizzou WOMENS basketball.