This Missouri women’s basketball team, No. 19 in the country, is supposed to be the most talented one coach Robin Pingeton has had in her eight seasons at MU. But this roster came with a couple of holes for the coach would have to fill.
Pingeton lost experience and strong outside shooting when she graduated guards Lindsey Cunningham and Sierra Michaelis, who nearly made 35 percent of their 313 combined three-point attempts a season ago. They were also poised leaders. So to fill the void they left, Pingeton has been most demanding of one player who isn’t even a starter: Jordan Chavis.
“We definitely needed someone to step up and continue to help us spread that court,” Pingeton said of Chavis. “She had some good minutes last year. She had some good game experience. She knew that was going to be a part of role her role this season, and she’s responded really well.”
Chavis, a sophomore, is fifth on the team in minutes with 22.2 per game and plays both guard positions for the Tigers, who are 5-1 and host Kansas State on Thursday. Chavis is Missouri’s most important bench player this season, able to play alongside either star Sophie Cunningham or point guard Lauren Aldridge, a transfer from Kansas.
The Tigers have always sought out three-point shots under Pingeton, and Chavis has attempted a team-high 26 three-pointers through just six games. She’s made 38.5 percent of them, up more than 6 percent from a season ago.
The sample size is small, so the improvement might be an aberration. But Chavis’ confidence in her increased role is real.
“She’s not afraid of the big moment,” Pingeton said. “She’s not afraid of the tough shot.”
As a freshman, Chavis played 30 minutes and made 3 of 6 three-point attempts in a narrow win over Vanderbilt. She converted all 4 of her shots from deep in a 6-point road win at Vanderbilt.
Now that Chavis has a more prominent role, Pingeton is pushing the sophomore to be more vocal.
Chavis said she’s talking more, knowing she has to now that she’s serving as the Tigers’ point guard more often. But more than anything, Sophie Cunningham said, the Tigers’ need a deadeye shooter, and Chavis has already proven that’s her — so she doesn’t feel the need to talk up her skills.
Asked what she like most about taking big shots for her team, she gave a simple answer: “Them going into the basket.”