Tigers look inward during losing streak this season

Missouri’s next three opponents are all ranked teams.

“Process” might be coach Robin Pingeton’s favorite word.

Pingeton hates losing, but qualifying losses as steps toward something greater makes losing easier to swallow.

“It’s all part of the process,” Pingeton said. “I know everyone gets tired of hearing that, but when you’re building a program, and you’re laying a foundation, and you’ve got a young team, and you’re playing in the best conference in the country, it’s not easy. It takes time. It takes patience, which I’m not very good at.”

Missouri (13-7, 2-5 Southeastern Conference) dropped its fourth straight game Sunday at Mississippi State. In the midst of their only losing streak all season, the Tigers are looking inward to fix their problems.

Pingeton called the loss to Mississippi State, “gut wrenching, a little bit different than the other ones.”

The “other ones” are the losses that started Missouri’s losing streak. Missouri fell to Kentucky, Louisiana State and Texas A&M — all ranked teams. Mississippi State (15-6, 2-5 SEC) is the only unranked team Missouri was to face during an eight-game stretch of SEC play, of which Mizzou has completed five games.

Missouri went into halftime with the lead before losing to the Bulldogs, 69-62. The Tigers recorded 20 turnovers for the second consecutive game, including 11 offensive charges against Missouri.

“It was a rough one,” sophomore guard Lianna Doty said.

While the Tigers credit the defenses they’ve faced recently, players said their struggles during the losing streak has more to do with themselves than with their opponents.

“I think it was (11) turnovers off charges,” Doty said of the offensive charges. “And all of the sudden you’re looking at (nine) turnovers, and it’s like, whoa, that’s not that bad.”

Junior guard Morgan Eye said to avoid turnovers the Tigers have to not be intimidated in conference play.

“SEC is a lot more competitive,” Eye said. “There’s a lot of defenses that are going to be up in your grill. They’re going to be a lot more athletic than what we saw at the beginning of the season. But it all just comes down to us being strong with the ball, and being poised, and having confidence.”

On the defensive end, Pingeton said the Tigers must limit opponents’ second chance opportunities. She said her team allowed too many offensive rebounds and recorded too many fouls at the end of possessions.

Missouri’s next game is against Vanderbilt on Thursday at Mizzou Arena.

“I do feel like there is a light at the end of the tunnel,” Pingeton said. “I don’t know when we’re going to finally knock down that brick wall and get another win on that scoreboard … We’re going to stay the course and keep plugging away.”

Put another way, the Tigers will continue with the process.

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