The Maneater

Tigers trounce Vanderbilt on senior night, 83-68

Redshirt senior Jordan Frericks led Missouri with 16 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.

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Redshirt junior Lauren Aldridge started with a 3 from the right wing, then the left wing, then back to the right.

All three triples went right through the bottom of the net, giving Missouri a quick 9-2 lead it would not relinquish in its 83-68 drubbing of Vanderbilt on senior night.

The flurry of 3-pointers to start the game flew by for Aldridge. She and the rest of the team were focused on starting strong in the Tigers’ last guaranteed home game.

“It happened really fast, just back-to-back-to-back,” Aldridge said. “As a whole, our team wanted to come out from the start and give our seniors a night to remember and give them a win on their home court for the last guaranteed home game.”

This is the final regular-season home game for the Tigers, but if Missouri stays in the top four seed lines, it would almost certainly play its first two NCAA Tournament games at Mizzou Arena. Missouri was a three seed and the No. 11 overall seed in the committee’s latest reveal.

Aldridge led the way early, but the night belonged to redshirt senior Jordan Frericks, who finished one assist shy of a triple-double.

Frericks put together an all-around performance on senior night, scoring 16 points, grabbing 12 boards and getting two steals on her senior night.

Frericks was the main facilitator for the Tiger offense with nine dimes. Frericks was able to kick the ball out to open shooters, hitting Aldridge on two of her first three triples, and was also able to feed the ball inside, hitting senior Kayla Michael on a back cut with 1:50 left in the fourth.

Frericks was recruited on the idea of building a top program at Mizzou. In her first year, the Tigers went 17-14 with six conference wins. This year, they’re 23-5 and have won six straight conference games.

Frericks came back this year from an ACL tear that delayed her final campaign. She is happy to see the progress the team has made since her freshman season in 2014.

“It’s pretty awesome,” Frericks said. “When Coach [Pingeton] recruited us, she said she was recruiting us to build something special. To see where it was and to see where it is now, kudos to her and the staff. I’m just so glad to be a part of that.”

Sophomore Amber Smith led the Tigers with 19 points, 11 of which came in the second half, and shot 5-for-7 from behind the arc. Junior Sophie Cunningham also continued her strong play with 14 points on 6-for-13 shooting.

Aldridge continued her hot start in the opening quarter with five treys, reaching her season high of 15 points in the game’s first eight minutes.

The Tigers splashed outside shots from all over the court early on, hitting seven of their first 10 3-pointers.

Missouri had 12 assists in an offensive outburst in the opening quarter. Behind 15 points from Aldridge, Missouri had a season-high 35 points in the opening quarter on 14-for-19 shooting.

Missouri continued its strong ball movement throughout the game, finishing with 24 assists. The Tigers were able to kick the ball out and make the extra pass for open shots on the perimeter, shooting 14-for-29 from behind the arc.

Vanderbilt head coach Stephanie White said Missouri’s ball movement and the chemistry of the Tiger offense was hard to defend.

“They’re very good instinctual players,” White said. “They know where they’re going to pass it before they even get it. They know where each other are on the floor. It looks like they’ve been playing together since they were five years old.”

The Tigers have now won six straight after losing to Mississippi State on Feb. 1 and will carry that momentum to College Station, Texas, to take on Texas A&M in their regular-season finale before they travel to Nashville, Tennessee, for the Southeastern Conference Tournament on March 1.

Missouri is 11-4 in conference play and is tied with Georgia for third in the SEC standings. With a win on Sunday, the Tigers will ensure a top-four conference finish and a double bye in Nashville as well as help their chances for a top-four seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Edited by Joe Noser | jnoser@themaneater.com

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