Senior Morgan Stock rallies back after knee complications

The women’s basketball guard has the sixth most 3-pointers in program history.

Senior forward Bri Kulas of the Black Team fights for control of the ball between sophomore guard Morgan Stock and sophomore forward Michelle Hudyn of Gold Team during Tuesday's Black and Gold Scrimmage. The Gold Team took the win in a close 29-26 victory. Maneater File Photo

You know why she’s on the court. It isn’t for lockdown defense or dominating rebounding. It is for what she gets done behind the arc.

A few weeks ago, senior Morgan Stock was moved from the bench into the Missouri women’s basketball starting lineup after a lights-out performance against Florida and radical improvement in her shooting consistency. When it comes to shooting 3s, she improved from shooting 25 percent in nonconference games to 41 percent during Southeastern Conference play. Ever since that night, she has been the go-to player.

But it's not just on the stat sheet that you see the progression. There’s a different air about Stock when she has the ball in her hands. There’s no hesitation. She’s fearless.

Following a squad-leading 17-point, 5-trey performance against Arkansas, Stock said she likes to think every shot she takes will go in, a confident response that speaks to her attitude change over the course of the past few weeks.

"It was a mental thing for me for a while and I've figured out a way to just clear my mind and just have fun with it,” Stock said after a 20-point game against Florida on Jan. 24. “I think that is just part of it I guess. I would get down on myself after one miss, but now I've finally learned how to move on and we talk about next play all the time, so next play. My teammates and coaches have been huge supporters, and they have been able to push me forward."

With a new mentality, Stock has dominated from behind the arc in almost every game since her breakout Florida match. Her consistency has broken her into the top 10 in trey ranks. As of Feb. 21, Stock is tied for the sixth-most 3-pointers in Missouri women’s basketball history with 119.

Stock’s breakout may appear to be more of an abrupt spurt to rookie fans and viewers who missed out on her three previous years; those years led her to the sixth spot. The fans’ lack of exposure continued into this season when Stock saw few minutes due to knee complications. With the injury, the coaches were tentative with her minutes, allowing enough time for rest and recovery to bring her back to full health.

And by the looks of it, she just might be there.

Given Stock’s injury and grade, coach Robin Pingeton has been particularly impressed with Stock’s resilience. Stock has hit her peak late in the season, playing at a level that she will hopefully be able to maintain into the postseason.

"Morgan has gotten shots all year; she is just able to knock them down right now,” Pingeton said. “So many times when you are in a slump you start to feel sorry for yourself and play the victim, but Morgan has been doing a great job of getting in the gym outside of practice and getting game like shots. Kudos to her, because sometimes even as a senior it would be easy to throw in the towel. ‘It's my senior year, I'm not shooting the ball very well and woe is me’ type attitude but she has not done that. She has done the exact opposite.”

Edited by Alec Lewis | alewis@themaneater.com

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