Columbia, MO – The Cunningham sisters, both donned with matching wave tattoos on their wrists that stand for “go with the flow,” absolutely controlled the flow of the game tonight (Dec. 2) as the Tigers stuck it to in-state foe Missouri State by a final score of 73-49. Each sister achieved double-digit points, with Sophie leading the team with a season-high 22 points accompanied by seven rebounds and six assists.
“I thought tonight we really competed,” said Missouri head coach Robin Pingeton. “I thought we played physical and I thought we had excellent ball movement. I’m really proud of the way our girls bounced back from our game on Tuesday.”
The Lady Bears had more to worry about than just the 6’0” tall blonde sisters, though. Sierra Michaelis was also on fire as she chipped in 15 points including four three-pointers that accounted for half the threes the Tigers struck during tonight’s electrifying performance from the field.
“My teammates did a great job of getting me the ball when I was on fire tonight,” said Michaelis on her success beyond the arc.
The Tigers started out hot collecting 10 points in the first three minutes with six points coming off threes by Lindsey Cunningham and Michaelis, whose presence and confidence beyond the arc was just beginning.
All things considered, the Missouri State Lady Bears didn’t make it easy on the Tiger’s to maintain their lead for a majority of the first period. They kept up the intensity and remained gritty, entering the second period down by only four points.
It wasn’t until the second period that Missouri was able to keep the Lady Bears at a 10-point distance for a majority of the quarter. Despite a series of fouls that sent the Lady Bears to the charity stripe five times in the second quarter alone, where they went 6-10, the Tigers were able to hold on to an 11-point lead and entered the second half up 40-29.
Back-to-back buckets by true freshman Amber Smith gave the Tigers the ammo they needed to get ahead and stay ahead in the second half. Missouri raised its lead to 44-32 in the first two minutes of the quarter and never looked back. In the third period, the Tigers outscored the Lady Bears 19-12.
“They were getting some pretty easy shots, especially in the third quarter, and we had some defensive breakdowns that gave them some good looks in the paint,” Missouri State head coach Kellie Harper said. “They’re one of those teams you don’t want to give momentum to. They really take momentum and run with it.”
Missouri’s hot hands didn’t stop there, however, as they showed no mercy on the Lady Bears. They continued their scoring streak well into the fourth quarter and it showed up in the box score with four Tigers pouring in double-digit points. The Cunningham sisters combined for 35 points - 22 from Sophie and 13 from Lindsey - while Michaelis and Porter finished with 15 and 13 points, respectively.
Missouri will be back on the road to take on the IUPUI Jaguars this Sunday (Dec. 4) at 1 p.m. E.T. in Indianapolis, Indiana before returning home for a four-game home stand that kicks off next Wednesday (Dec. 7) against the SIUE Cougars at 7 p.m. C.T.