Driving into the lane with her left hand, freshman point guard Lianna Doty kicked the ball out to sophomore guard Morgan Eye for a 3-pointer on the wing.
Four minutes later, she connected with Sydney Crafton for a layup on a fast break. The following possession, she dished out yet another assist to Eye on a 3-pointer.
By halftime, Doty had tallied seven assists, seven rebounds, four points and three steals.
She also had four turnovers.
So far this season, Doty leads the Tigers in assists and steals, but also in turnovers and personal fouls. Leading up to Missouri’s first-ever contest against Florida, Doty led the Southeastern Conference freshmen class in assists, averaging 4.9 per game. She ranked fifth overall in the SEC and 55th in the nation.
In Thursday’s 69-64 victory over Florida (13-9, 2-6 SEC), Doty reached a double-double, grabbing 10 boards and scoring 11 points on the night. She also contributed seven assists, all of which were in the first half.
“I couldn’t have even told you I didn’t have any assists in the second half, but that’s how the game goes,” Doty said. “Some games it’s your time to make plays and sometimes you are making plays and maybe you’re making the pass and someone else is making the basket. Sometimes you get assists, sometimes you don’t.”
Tallying seven assists against the Gators, Doty came within two assists of sophomore Kyley Simmons’s 2011-12 team-leading record, set at 111 dimes on the season.
In just 22 games so far this season, 20 of which she started, Doty has recorded 109 assists and 46 steals. But for every assist, she also committed a turnover.
Missouri coach Robin Pingeton attributed those statistics to Doty’s style of play after she gave up seven turnovers in Missouri's loss to Arkansas on Jan. 24.
“Sometimes I just feel like she plays with such reckless abandon, which can be a really good thing, but it can be detrimental at times, too,” Pingeton said. Pingeton also acknowledged other factors, including Doty’s freshman status combined with a young team playing in a new conference.
“It’s one thing to come in and be a starting point guard and be surrounded by veteran basketball players that have a little bit more experience,” Pingeton said after the Florida win. “It’s another thing to come in and be a starting point guard as a freshman when you don’t have those kind of players, so there’s a lot on her shoulders.”
Doty’s 46 steals this season has already surpassed last season’s team leader in steals. Missouri basketball alumna Christine Flores tallied 35 steals in 31 games during the 2011-12 campaign. At 2.09 steals per game, Doty’s average almost doubles the mark Flores set last year.
Pingeton said Doty’s dedicated work ethic has contributed to her success on the court.
“There’s nobody that works harder than her,” Pingeton said. “There’s nobody that studies the game more than she does. She watches film, she critiques herself and she’s got a very high basketball IQ.”
Despite Doty’s assist-to-turnover ratio, Pingeton has confidence that the young guard will develop into her game.
“I’m proud of her,” Pingeton said. “It’s not easy, but I think she loves a challenge. That’s why she’s here to help us build this program, and she’s going to be an awfully special player to watch over the next couple of years.”