Missouri Southern’s Stokes leading MIAA in rebounding, blocks

Madi Stokes is one of just two players in the MIAA averaging more than 10 rebounds per game.

JOPLIN, Mo. – Missouri Southern center Madi Stokes is off to a great start in her sophomore season for the Lions.

The Cassville High School product currently leads the MIAA in rebounding (10.9 RPG) and blocks (3 BPG) through seven games. Stokes is one of just two players in the league averaging more than 10 rebounds per game.

“The biggest difference for Madi this year is that she’s being aggressive and going and getting those rebounds,” says head coach Ronnie Ressel, “Last year, everything kind of came right to her. She has made adjustments, and she’s going to get it. She’s been big for us in our last four wins, because there will be games where she’ll have five or six rebounds in the 4th quarter to help us close it out, because she’s just going to get the big boards.”

Stokes has 21 blocks in the first 7 games of the season, putting her on pace to break the program’s single-season record of 62 blocks set by Zoe Campbell in the 2019-2020 season. The Lions are only scheduled to play 22 games this season, while Campbell set the current record in 28 games.

“In women’s basketball you don’t really hear about a player being called a rim protector, but she has become one for us,” Ressel says of the 6-4 sophomore, “She’s done a good job of keeping her hands up, and I think our perimeter kids feel like they can get out and pressure the ball a little more knowing that she’s back there to help.”

Stokes has started all 7 games so far this season for Missouri Southern. Offensively, she’s averaging 8.3 points per game after posting 6.2 points per game as a freshman.

“Coming out of high school, most of her post-up game was a lot of standing, because she really couldn’t push against the smaller kids she was playing against,” Ressel adds, “She’s learning how to post up against bigger kids and how to score. She works great in the pick and roll because she has such great hands, and she’s also a great passer. She’s always been a good passer, because she would face double and triple teams in high school and would have to find the open teammate. She’s been much better about wanting the ball in the post and wanting to score. If she does that, the sky is the limit for her.”