Missouri women's basketball stuffs Southeast Missouri

The Missouri bench celebrates during Saturday afternoon's win against Southeast Missouri at Mizzou Arena in Columbia. (Courtesy of Mizzou Athletics)
The Missouri bench celebrates during Saturday afternoon's win against Southeast Missouri at Mizzou Arena in Columbia. (Courtesy of Mizzou Athletics)

COLUMBIA -- The Missouri Tigers were in control from the opening tip.

Making her first career start, Hannah Linthacum hit a free throw for the first point of the game with 9:57 left in the first quarter and the Southeast Missouri State Redhawks never came back to tie in an 88-43 Missouri win Saturday at Mizzou Arena.

“Coming off a really tough loss, I’m really proud of the resiliency of this group,” Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said. “… I thought we really did some nice things defensively in regards to our rotations and putting fires out. That, honestly, was a really, really big point of emphasis for us.”

After Linthacum’s game-opening point, Grace Slaughter scored seven consecutive Missouri points, building her 11-point day, then Abbey Schreacke hit the first of her three 3s to put Missouri up 11-5. Schreacke ended with 13 points as one of five Tigers in double figures.

Hayley Frank then scored seven consecutive points to end the first quarter, helping create a game-high 18 points, to send Missouri into the first break up 18-7.

The Tigers extended to a 26-12 lead early in the second quarter after a Sarah Linthacum layup, then Missouri put together a 10-0 run with six points from Ashton Judd, six of her 15, Slaughter adding a layup and Frank hitting two free throws.

Hannah Linthacum connected on a layup with under a minute left to send the Tigers into halftime with a 41-19 lead while shooting 15-of-28 overall in the first half and 6-of-12 from 3.

“I thought Hannah had some really good minutes for us,” Pingeton said.

Hannah Linthacum scored the first four points out of the break as well, helping build her nine-point, six-rebound performance in 16 minutes of action.

“I was definitely a little nervous coming into the game,” Hannah Linthacum said. “But once we got out there, we’re all having fun and it’s nice.”

The Tigers added runs of five and 12 points sandwiched around a SEMO 3 to take a 62-25 lead into the final quarter.

Within the 12-point run, Hannah Linthacum hit two free throws, Abby Feit connected on a layup, two of her season-high 11 points, Judd hit a jumper, Schreacke connected on another 3, Judd hit a free throw and Frank made a layup.

Missouri held SEMO to six points in the third quarter and seven in the first quarter.

“Is there room for growth? Absolutely,” Pingeton said. “But it was so much better. You could hear them talking … I think we’ve done a much better job with our transition defense than when we started at the beginning of the month of November.”

Missouri got to a 76-30 lead after a Micah Linthacum layup, marking the first game where all three Jefferson City grad sisters scored in the same game.

It was really nice being able to support each other through that,” Hannah Linthacum said.

The Tigers extended as far as 86-34 in the fourth quarter, before SEMO put together a 9-0 run in the final three minutes to cut the final lead to 45.

Missouri shot 35-of-63 (55.6 percent) overall, 9-of-26 (34.6 percent) from 3 and 9-of-14 (64.3 percent) at the free-throw line.

Along with her game-high scoring performance, Frank brought down a game-high nine rebounds and dished out a co-game-high four assists. Frank was 3-of-3 from the free-throw line to extend her streak to 28 consecutive makes from the charity stripe.

“Frankie came in and was very focused, but at the same time, present with her teammates,” Pingeton said. “She just kind of carries herself that way. … Every coach would love to have Frankie when they put together a team.”

Judd added six rebounds to her 15 points, while Schreacke had four boards and Feit had five.

Mama Dembele was the only Tiger to not score in the matchup, but she brought down six rebounds, dished out three assists and poked away three steals. Dembele’s assist total brought her to 10th on the Missouri all-time assists leaderboard. She passed Natalie Bright (1998-2002) and is five behind Joni Davis (1981-85) for ninth.

“Mama has been a rock star this year,” Pingeton said. “I’m so proud of her, I think she’s really finally to the point of feeling comfortable, feeling like, understanding, that her voice really matters. … She impacts this game in so many ways that doesn’t even show up in that stat line.”

Missouri (6-3) will keep the intrastate matchups coming as the Tigers host Missouri State at 6 p.m. Wednesday.