COLUMBIA — After the Missouri women's basketball team returned from Louisiana, the Tigers had time to watch film of Monday's 61-51 loss to LSU.
The team struggled with foul trouble late, shot 6-of-23 from 3-point range and was a very uncharacteristic 7-of-16 at the foul line in the loss. Because of that, senior forward Cierra Porter didn't see any similarities between that loss and Missouri's earlier loss at Florida, in which the Tigers squandered a late lead.
Missouri (16-7, 5-4 Southeastern Conference) hosts Texas A&M (18-4, 7-2) at 6 p.m. today at Mizzou Arena. The game will be televised on SEC Network. The Tigers are 4-0 at home in conference play and 1-4 on the road, with the one win coming at then-No. 10 Tennessee in early January.
The Lady Vols have since fallen out of the polls, and Missouri has lost four straight conference road games, including back-to-back games at ranked opponents in South Carolina and Kentucky.
"Florida, we had to grow up and realize you have to be prepared for every single game and treat all games the same," Porter said Wednesday. "I think this one was different, people were prepared, shots just weren't falling, we're a good free throw shooting team, those weren't falling.
"I think there's a lot of little things. We watched a lot of film yesterday, we'll continue to watch film and get better. It's just a lot of little things here and there, which I think is good because if you can shore up on a bunch of little things it's not like there's a glaring issue. Knocking down open shots, making free throws, and then just being smooth with our offense."
Today's game pits two of the conference's best scoring defenses against two of the conference's best individual scorers. Missouri's defense holds its opponents to 57 points per game, and Sophie Cunningham is fifth on the conference's scoring leaderboard, averaging 16.6 points a game. The Aggies' athleticism allows them to play man or matchup zone and hold opponents to less than 58 points per game on average, while Chennedy Carter leads the SEC in scoring with 21.8 points per game.
"She's one of the best guards, I think, in the country, if not the best perimeter player in the country," Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said. "She scores in a variety of ways and she's a really hard guard. As a coaching staff you try to really dissect that, but I'm going to be honest with you I don't see a lot of weaknesses in her game."
Carter shoots 39 percent from the field, 33 percent from 3-point range and 72 percent at the foul line, and can get her shot up from pretty much anywhere in the half court. She exudes the kind of confidence on offense Cunningham is so known for, and the kind of confidence Cunningham, Porter and Lauren Aldridge are helping instill in the classes behind them that have hardly any experience starting or playing in big moments.
Jordan Roundtree is one player that has benefited from starting experience, which didn't come until her junior season at Missouri, and seen a increase in her on-court confidence.
"Confidence is huge," Roundtree said. "Offense is something that you have highs and you have lows, but continuing to go again and again and again in practice, and work on working out some kinks. And having confidence in each other. When we have confidence in each other, we shoot the ball well, we make the right passes, we get each other open."