Columbia Bound for Final Time

The Lady Raiders travel to play the Lady Tigers in Columbia, Missouri for the final time as Big 12 Conference foes.

It has been eight years since the Lady Raiders have gone into Columbia and come out with a win, but in Saturday's meeting with the Lady Tigers there will be more motivation to snap that streak considering Missouri is headed to the SEC next season.

"I am disappointed, I think when you think about the Big 12, I loved it just the way it was, obviously no control over it," Tech head coach Kristy Curry said. "It's a great arena, it's a great opponent."

The Lady Raiders hold the all-time series lead against the Lady Tigers going 12-6 against Missouri since the team joined the Big 12 Conference.

But getting a win in Missouri has been one thing Kristy Curry has not been able to accomplish in her five seasons at Tech, and said there is something about playing in Columbia that makes it tougher to win.

"It's always tough up there, it seems like it's different up there, we have to go do a better job than we have in the past," she said. "And I've challenged myself with that, you know it's important that I do a better job with us getting prepared."

Since the Missouri Arena opened in 2004, the Lady Tigers have boasted a 74-44 record at home, and have gone 7-1 there this season.

Curry will have to have her team ready to go against Missouri head coach Robin Pingeton's squad if they want to come out of Columbia with a win.

Pingeton is in her second season as the head coach of the Lady Tigers with a mark of 23-20 so far, but this is not her first stop in the Big 12.

She spent three seasons on Bill Fennelly's staff at Iowa State and served as the associate head coach in the 2002-2003 campaign.

While with the Cyclones the squad went 66-33, which included two NCAA Tournament appearances and the 2001 Big 12 Tournament title.

With her ties to the Big 12, and Missouri shifting conferences next season, Pingeton said she will miss the conference and highly respects everyone in it.

"I'm a Mid-West gal and I love the Big 12, I've been around it a lot, I was an assistant coach at Iowa State for three years, and have a lot of respect for the Big 12 and the teams that are in it," she said. " Then there are some long-storied rivalries and traditions that are going to be sad to see go."

Another factor of losing the Missouri game, besides just losing the game, is the affect it will have on recruiting in that area.

Curry said she doesn't think it will hurt the recruiting; it will just be one less opportunity to get up there and recruit.

The Lady Raiders will still get to travel up that direction with games against Kansas, Kansas State and Iowa State in the future to help with recruiting efforts, but Curry said it would be nice to still be able to go to Columbia.

"It's important that we continue to get up there and recruit, obviously being able to play at (Kansas), Iowa State and Kansas State has helped us in recruiting as well," she said, "but I wish we still had Mizzou on our schedule."

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