Jan 06, 2020 4:13 PM

Rachel Benzing named first Missouri Western lacrosse coach

Posted Jan 06, 2020 4:13 PM

ST. JOSEPH – Missouri Western vice president of intercollegiate athletics Dr. Josh Looney announced the hiring of Rachel Benzing as the first-ever head women's lacrosse coach in MWSU history. Benzing brings experience in the region as a student-athlete and coach in addition to experience starting Division II women's lacrosse programs in the midwest region.

"Rachel quickly became our top target to launch Griffon Lacrosse," Looney said. "Her experiences with two different startup Division II programs, coupled with an elite collegiate playing career in Missouri, make her an ideal fit to lead and grow women's lacrosse in our community. Rachel's energy and enthusiasm will connect with student-athletes and mesh well within our athletic department. We believe Rachel is a rising star and are thrilled she will begin her head coaching career at Missouri Western."

Benzing comes to MWSU after helping usher in women's lacrosse programs at Lynn University and Maryville University. She spent two years at Maryville before moving on to help build the program at Lynn. After two seasons as a lacrosse student-athlete at University of Maryland Baltimore County, Benzing finished her playing career at Lindenwood University where she was a two-time All-American.

"I am extremely honored and excited to be named the first head women's lacrosse coach in Missouri Western's history," Benzing said. "I would like to thank Josh Looney and President Matt Wilson for entrusting me to build this new program alongside them. This is an incredible opportunity to expand the game at the collegiate level in a rapidly growing region. I look forward to developing future Griffs and creating a championship caliber experience here in St. Joseph."

In 2014, Benzing led Division I UMBC in assists and ranked fifth in the America East in assists per game. Benzing holds the Lindenwood career record for assists per game after helping the Lions to two NCAA Division II national semi-final appearances. In 2017, Benzing was named the RMAC Offensive Player of the Year, first team All-Region and first team All-American. Benzing was a two-time first team All-RMAC selection and also earned second team All-Region and third team All-American honors in 2016.

Benzing also served as head coach of the St. Louis Samurai and St. Louis Lacrosse Club from 2017-19. She received a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and a minor in nutrition from Lindenwood in 2017.


"I am thrilled for Rachel being named the first lacrosse head coach at Missouri Western! The Griffons are getting a fierce competitor who loves the game, and who is extremely passionate, knowledgeable, and driven. Missouri Western has chosen the right person to build and lead their new program. I know Rachel will have a tireless work ethic and have a profound impact on her student-athletes on and off the field." - Jack Cribbin, Head Coach, Lindenwood University

"Coach Benzing has proven herself to be a very hard working, determined and knowledgeable young coach. Her experience starting new programs will be very beneficial in her new position at Missouri Western. She has shown the ability to lead with confidence and is well respected by her student-athletes. Rachel is an ambitious coach who will bring a true passion and love for the game to the new women's lacrosse program." - Mindy Richmond, Head Coach, Lynn University

"I have had the fortune of knowing Rachel as a player and colleague. Her understanding of what is required to push herself individually for the collective success of the programs she's a part of will be infectious for future Griffons. No stranger to the demands required of student-athletes, she will bring empathy and wisdom to battling past adversity in its diverse forms. Her resilience, passion and drive will define Missouri Western as she brings in top talent looking to cement a legacy that mirrors and rivals her own. She has competed at the highest level and knows what it takes to be a dominating force in all of Division II. I have no doubt in my mind that she'll bring Missouri Western into the fold of premier teams during her time in St. Joseph." - Jenna Kasmarik, Assistant Coach, Longwood University

--- MWSU Athletics ---

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Jan 06, 2020 4:13 PM
Mizzou women upset LSU 69-65

COLUMBIA, Mo.  – Mizzou Women's Basketball (4-11, 1-1 SEC) jumped out to an early lead and held off a late comeback to defeat LSU (11-3, 1-1 SEC), 69-65, on Sunday afternoon at Mizzou Arena. The win was Mizzou’s first of its conference schedule and snapped a five-game losing streak.

Mizzou had four players score in double figures, led by the first career double-double from freshman guard Aijha Blackwell (Berkeley, Mo.), who had 15 points, 11 rebounds and five assists. Joining Blackwell in double figures was senior guard Amber Smith (Shreveport, La.), senior guard Jordan Chavis (Lexington, N.C.) and freshman forward Hayley Frank (Strafford, Mo.), who scored 13, 13 and 11 points, respectively.


Mizzou had its largest halftime lead of the season at 42-21, but had to halt a furious second-half comeback from LSU, who outscored Mizzou 44-27 in the game’s final 20 minutes. As LSU was trying to finish off its comeback, Mizzou went to the free throw line eight times in the game’s final quarter, converting on 6-of-8 attempts and 5-of-6 attempts in the final two minutes.


• Blackwell recorded her first career double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds while shooting 6-of-6 from the free throw line and dishing out five assists.

• Chavis scored 13 points on 3-of-7 shooting from three and grabbed a career-best seven rebounds.

•  Smith scored 13 points and had three rebounds in the game.


•  Mizzou had four score in double-figures, the fourth time this season and the first time since Dec. 5, 2019 (vs. St. Louis) Mizzou has had four or more score 10+ points.

• Mizzou shot the three-ball consistently throughout the contest recording their highest three-point percentage (.423, 11-of-26) since Dec. 5, 2019 against Saint Louis (.667, 12-of-18). It marked the fourth time this season Mizzou has shot 40 percent or better from three.

•  The Tigers shot 51.1 percent from the field (24-of-47), the second-best output of the season, trailing only the 51.9 percent (28-of-58) performance against Saint Louis (Dec. 5, 2019).

•  Mizzou converted 10-of-12 of its attempts from the free throw line, the seventh time this season Mizzou has shot at least 80 percent from the charity stripe.

•  Mizzou got a quick start scoring 23 in the first quarter. This is the most points the Tigers have scored in the first quarter since Jan. 27, 2019 against Auburn (23).

• Blackwell was a force on both sides of the court, recording her first career double-double with 15 points and a career-high 11 rebounds.

• Blackwell’s 15 points was her third consecutive game scoring in double figures and the eighth time she has done so this season.

• The Tiger freshman also had five assists in the game, marking the second time this season she has dished out five or more dimes.

• Chavis collected a career high seven rebounds, giving her 13 in her last three games.

• Chavis made three three-pointers in the game to move to No. 9 on Mizzou’s all-time top-10 list with 124 threes, moving past Julie Helm (1995-00, 123).

• Chavis had five assists in the game, marking the second time in her career she has had five or more assists.

• Redshirt senior Hannah Schuchts (Tallahassee, Fla.) recorded one block in the game to join Mizzou’s top-10 all-time with 112 career blocks. She now moves into a tie at No. 10 with Cierra Porter (2015-19) and EeTisha Riddle (2003-07).

• Frank scored 11 points in the game, marking the 10th double-digit effort of her season.


Next, Mizzou hosts No. 15/14 Mississippi State on Thursday, Jan. 9. Tipoff from Mizzou Arena is slated for 6 p.m.

--- Mizzou Athletics ---