Lingor is the Southwest Missouri State Lady Bears' warrior.
a title that coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson has given Lingor,
ironically an American Indian of Cherokee descent.
never quit. When hit with adversity, they find ways to triumph.
when faced with the death of parents.
Lisa Lingor passed away to a brain tumor shortly after Christmas,
Jenni mourned for the second time in her young life. Her father
Steven died two years earlier after complications from diabetes.
Lingor excel on the basketball court, you'd think nothing was wrong.
she still hurts.
had to deal with both of their deaths and continue to deal with
it," Lingor said. "It has really put life in perspective
and has pointed out what's important."
teammates practiced at 7 a.m. on Dec. 29 so they could be with her
at Lisa Lingor's funeral in Tahlequah, Okla., later that afternoon.
needed to be down there," Sarah Klaassen said. "I cried
that day because it hurt me to see her hurt so badly."
teammates were honorary pallbearers at her mother's funeral.
were a great support and helped me tremendously," Lingor said.
Morgan Hohenberger: "We're her family now. We'll always be
here for her."
missed a win at Oregon State to be with her mother. When the Lady
Bears played a New Year's Day game against Saint Louis, it would
have been understandable if she sat out.
she flirted with a triple-double, getting 11 points, eight rebounds
and six assists in a 72-33 victory over the Billikens.
an unbelievably strong person," Kari Koch said. "It would
have gotten to me, but she handled the situation well."
was able to use basketball as an escape," Klaassen said. "She
loves basketball and it helps keep her going."
weekend, Lingor's grandparents Danny and Ellen Whitekiller
will occupy seats in the north stands of Hammons Student
Center. It's where Lisa Lingor used to sit.
watched their granddaughter from her first season, when Lingor was
voted the Missouri Valley Conference freshman of the year.
overcame a tough transition. Playing under then-coach Cheryl Burnett,
she was quickly thrust into a role as the team's go-to player.
I first came to school here, I thought I'd sit on the bench for
two years or get limited playing time," Lingor said. "It
turned out to be the exact opposite."
averaged a team-high 13.1 points a game and was voted to the all-conference
all the individual accolades, it was the mediocre 16-13 record that
was a big learning experience," she said. "We were coming
off a Final Four year and all the girls were used to winning ...
we had a lot of expectations but fell short.
once told me the Lady Bears don't lose 10 games in a season. We
lost 13 and it was really disappointing."
season, under new coach Abrahamson-Henderson, SMS hit its stride
late in the season.
played every minute of the Lady Bears' three-game march to the MVC
was named the MVP of the tournament, but there could have been two
does everything for us. She can shoot the 3, penetrate, rebound
... she lays it all out for her team," Abrahamson-Henderson
toyed with a triple-double over the past two seasons. Is there a
chance she'll join Carly Deer as the only players in SMS history
to get one?
jokes about it, but it could happen," Lingor said with a sly
statistics improved from her freshman season, but she didn't repeat
as a first-team all-conference player.
was a little bit disappointed," Lingor said. "In the end,
it worked out great. I'd much rather go to the NCAA Tournament than
have a plaque."
said her team is looking forward to defending its tourney title.
one expected us to win last year and we did," she said. "This
year, some of the coaches don't think we're the best team in our
league. We want to prove it."
year's NCAA Tournament trip just made the Lady Bears hunger for
another trip, she said.
got a taste of something great," Lingor said. "(The NCAA
Tournament) is something that drives athletes and it's lit a fire
a 25-3 record entering the MVC Tournament, the Lady Bears may be
on the radar of the NCAA Tournament selection committee.
doesn't want anyone deciding her fate; she'd rather grab the automatic
bid that comes with an MVC title.
all the upsets that have been happening around the country, we don't
want to put it in anyone else's hands. We want to make sure SMS
will be going back there."