With one more win, Missouri’s women’s basketball team would stand alone.
The Tigers will try to reach 10-0 on Saturday at Colorado, a game that tips off at 2:30 p.m. on the Pac-12 Network.
Missouri already has tied the best start in program history at 9-0, which matches the 1982-83 squad, but can move into uncharted territory against the Buffaloes.
“Honestly, I knew from the very get-go that we were going to have something very special this year …” freshman guard Sophie Cunningham said. “I’m not surprised with some of the things we’ve done this year.”
What the Tigers have done so far is win every game by at least 13 points, including five wins by 20 points or more.
Missouri coach Robin Pingeton, who has led the program to three straight Women’s NIT appearances and received a new contract through 2020 in October, isn’t surprised by the success.
“We felt like last year would be our breakout year before all the injuries,” she said.
Three Tigers — point guard Lianna Doty, forward Bri Porter and forward Kayla McDowell — went down with season-ending injuries before conference play, while forward Michelle Hudyn and guard Carrie Shephard also missed significant time in 2014-15.
Now healthy and with a glut of depth, Missouri burst from the gates on a roll, but now’s not the time for complacency.
“I’m never satisfied,” Pingeton said. “I certainly can’t wait to practice today and work on some things. We don’t look at the scoreboard so much as was our effort there, how did we do on the boards, were we assignment correct on the defensive end, did we take good shots or great shots, how did we share the ball?”
Pingeton’s right not to be satisfied, even though the Tigers are one of 14 undefeated teams through Thursday’s games.
Seven of Missouri’s wins came against teams ranked 147 or lower in the NCAA’s RPI metric.
The competition will ramp up significantly in conference play with seven teams, including the Tigers, in the RPI’s top 27.
Missouri, which finished 19-14 last season and tied for seventh in the SEC, boasts 13 20-win campaigns in 41 seasons, but they’ve only reached that mark twice since 1990 and haven’t finished a season ranked since 1984.
The Tigers have finished better than fifth in conference play once since 1990, finishing fourth in the Big 12 in 2005-06. That’s also the last time the program made the NCAA tourney.
This season, Missouri hasn’t cracked the polls, but that’s not something the players are worried about. Colorado is the only concern right now.
“It’s never been a goal to be ranked,” said senior guard Juanita Robinson, who transferred last season from Johnson County Community College. “We just want to keep doing what we do. If a team’s in our way, knock them right out.”