Star freshmen lead Missouri women’s basketball to win over Vanderbilt

Balanced scoring helped the Tigers defeat the Commodores for their fourth SEC win.

For better or for worse, freshmen continue to define the season for Missouri women’s basketball, as the Tigers (7-19, 4-9 SEC) defeated the Vanderbilt Commodores (13-13. 3-9 SEC) 78-66.

It’s been Aijha Blackwell carrying the Tigers as of late, leading Missouri in scoring (16.6), rebounding (8.3), assists (2.9) and total steals in SEC play.

She starred again against Vanderbilt, adding 18 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, three steals and four blocks. Blackwell recorded career highs in blocks and steals.

In Nashville, though, freshman Hayley Frank paced the Tigers in scoring, dropping 24 points on 8-11 shooting overall, 5-7 from deep and 3-4 from the free-throw line in the Missouri win.

Missouri and Vanderbilt seesawed back and forth early; two minutes into the second, Frank hit a three–her eighth point–putting the Tigers up nine. Vanderbilt punched back with a 10-0 run, taking a one-point lead halfway through the quarter.

The third quarter remained tight and Missouri entered the fourth down two points. The Tigers took control in the final frame, storming out to a 65-57 lead on the back of a 13-3 run.

Again, it was Missouri’s two-star freshmen making the difference late, as Blackwell and Frank scored all 13 points in the Tigers’ closing run. Vanderbilt would not pull closer than six in the fourth quarter, marking a strong finish by the Tigers.

Aside from Missouri’s freshman duo, the Tigers’ scoring was relatively balanced. Two other Tigers scored in double figures – seniors Jordan Roundtree and Jordan Chavis scored 10 – and senior Amber Smith scored eight points.

With three games remaining in the regular season, Missouri sits at fourth to last in the SEC. Two of its three remaining opponents are the bottom two teams in the SEC, Auburn and Ole Miss.

Back at Mizzou Arena, the Tigers will fight for their first win streak of the season Sunday against Ole Miss (7-19, 0-13 SEC).

Edited by Wilson Moore | wmoore@themaneater.com

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