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Sister’s keeper: Cunningham sisters power Mizzou past Arkansas

An all around team effort on the scoreboard, with eight Missouri players putting up points, raises the Tigers 2-0 against Arkansas this season with Lindsey Cunningham leading the charge with a career-high 21 points and a 5-5 shooting from three.  

Sophie Cunningham, Lindsey Cunningham Missoui Athletics

COLUMBIA, MO – After two tough road losses and falling 6-5 in SEC play, Missouri was looking for revenge and what better place to get revenge than back on your home court?

The Arkansas Razorbacks were no match for the Missouri Tigers on Sunday evening as eight Tigers tallied points with Lindsey Cunningham leading the hot Missouri squad with a career-high 21-points and a perfect 100% from three. Amber Smith put up her first career double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

“I love our senior leadership, and the freshman bring a lot of personality, and we have a special sophomore and junior class,” said Missouri head coach Robin Pingeton beaming about her squad. “They’re just great kids, and they work really, really hard and are invested 100%.”

Six first quarter turnovers by the Tigers resulted in six points for Arkansas, but it wasn’t a big deal thanks to the impeccable shooting from five different Missouri players. The Tigers shot an impressive 75% from beyond the arc and 100% from the free throw line, helping them enter the second quarter up by four despite both teams staying within one or two points of one another for a majority of the 10-minute stanza.

And no, it wasn’t just three-pointer extraordinaire Sierra Michaelis putting on a show, all five scorers from the first quarter knocked down triples of their own.

The Tigers took off in the second period, extending their first quarter lead into double-digits after two back-to-back triples from the Cunningham sisters surged Missouri ahead by 10 points. The Tigers didn’t stop there, though. While Arkansas shot a mere 23% from the field and could only put nine-second quarter points on the board, Missouri snagged a 16-point lead and forced four turnovers, ending the half up 41-25 over the Razorbacks.

“They play well off of each other, and they make winning plays,” said Arkansas head coach Jimmy Dykes on the Cunningham sisters. “I really enjoy competing against them. They really make you play.”

Both teams started out the third stanza with big time three’s from Arkansas’ Jailyn Mason and Missouri’s very own Lindsey Cunningham. Although their stat sheet made some improvements, the Razorbacks just couldn’t seem to recover from their second quarter meltdown and Missouri wasn’t going to let them try.

The Tigers were able to maintain their double-digit lead thanks to Lindsey Cunningham who led Missouri in points with 16 at by the third media timeout.

“It’s awesome,” Lindsey Cunningham said about her feelings after achieving a career-high 21 points and 5-5 shooting from beyond the arc. “I don’t go out there to try to get this many points or this many rebounds. They [my teammates] were hitting me tonight when I was open, and it’s pretty cool when it goes up and you know it’s going in.”

Despite cutting the deficit down to single digits for the first time since the beginning of the second quarter with the help of Jessica Jackson and Bailey Zimmerman’s back-to-back triples, the Razorbacks just couldn’t do what they needed to regain the lead in the final minutes of the game. Missouri walked away with their second win over Arkansas this season, 67-56.

The Tigers head down to the Sunshine State on Thursday to take on the Florida Gators at 6 p.m., and Arkansas heads back home to the Bud Walton Arena to play Kentucky at 7 p.m.