Mizzou women prepare for run in WNIT; first game against Illinois State
COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
The Mizzou women's basketball team will host Illinois State in the first round of the WNIT on Thursday night at 7 p.m. It is MU's third-consecutive appearance in the tournament.
The Tiger enter the tournament with a 17-13 overall record and a 5-10 mark in SEC action. As far as the WNIT goes, Mizzou has a 5-10 all-time record, after dropping out in the first round against Drake one season ago.
"Obviously not the tournament we wanted to be in. A lot of emotions over the last, probably, week and a half," head coach Robin Pingeton said. "I'm really proud of the way our locker room's responded and we've tried to shorten up practices a little bit, but I think they've been really good. I think with every practice we've been able to get under our belt, after taking a small break, has just gotten better and better."
Thursday's match up against Illinois State will be Mizzou's first game in 14 days, after falling out in the first round of the SEC Tournament against Arkansas on March 2. Pingeton said having that long of a break takes balance, especially after a long season.
"I think it's important to keep it fresh, maybe change up some things, but at the same time not lose sight of what we're trying to get done," she said.
There's one interesting story line headed into Thursday's night game, as Pingeton used to be the head coach at Illinois State before moving to Columbia. She said there is some emotions involved for her, but overall it's not at the front of her mind.
Pingeton said it was important for her team to take a breath and debrief after falling to the Razorbacks in the SEC Tournament at the start of the month. The biggest hurdle was dealing with all of those emotions.
"I know that one really hurt, but we have to get ourselves up, dust ourselves off and get back to work," she said. "It's been a little bit of a process to get us to that point, but I feel like the last couple days we've done a really good job and we're starting to find that grove again, which is exciting to see."
Mizzou and Illinois State tip off at 7 p.m. at Mizzou Arena on Thursday night.