Cunningham’s career night leads Tigers to ninth straight win

Sophie Cunningham had 35 points to lead the Tigers to a 78-48 win over SIUE.

Maneater File Photo

Junior Sophie Cunningham caught a pass and then nailed a 3 from the left wing on Missouri’s opening possession.

Missouri was up 3-0 and the Sophie Cunningham show was underway at Mizzou Arena.

Cunningham poured in 35 points, all of them coming in the first three quarters, and had a career-high seven 3-pointers to lead Missouri to a 78-48 win over Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville on Sunday.

Cunningham’s all-around offensive performance led to her hitting shots from all over the floor. She hit jumpers from 3-point range, sliced through the defense for layups inside and was 6 for 7 from the free-throw line.

Cunningham credited her teammates for setting her up for open looks.

“I didn’t know I was gonna have this kind of night, but it’s my teammates getting me open, it’s people like Hannah [Schuchts] and [Jordan Roundtree] shooting the ball like I know they can, getting some defensive pressure off of me to let me get those shots off,” Cunningham said. “It’s really my teammates that let me have this night.”

Head coach Robin Pingeton was pleased with how Cunningham led the offense.

“Obviously a really good offensive night for Sophie [Cunningham],” Pingeton said. “She got things going for us, especially from the 3-point line.”

A major key for the Tigers’ second-half offensive surge was their ball movement. The Tigers had 12 second-half assists and shot 54 percent from the field and 8 of 14 from 3-point range in the second half.

Pingeton thought the Tigers’ ball movement opened up the offense later in the game.

“We’re just having a hard time getting that ball movement early,” Pingeton said. “I thought once we started swinging the ball and had some screening action, it opened up some opportunities for us.”

Pingeton also liked what she saw from the Tiger bench. Missouri played 13 players, and 10 Tigers played double-digit minutes.

Sophomore guard Jordan Chavis had five points, four rebounds and three assists, while redshirt sophomore Hannah Schuchts added eight points and three rebounds off the bench.

“I thought our players off the bench did a really great job for us tonight,” Pingeton said. “They had a great practice Saturday. I’m excited for them for taking advantage of the minutes that they got.”

Pingeton was especially impressed with sophomore guard Jordan Roundtree, who had a career-high nine points and was 3 of 5 from long range.

“I think with Jordan [Roundtree] every game, every opportunity she gets, I think she is really making the most of those minutes,” Pingeton said. “Jordan, being a sophomore and having a year under her belt, having an understanding of what we need from her, she’s been really dang solid for us.”

Next, the Tigers will travel to West Palm Beach, Florida, for the West Palm Invitational. Missouri will play Indiana on Dec. 17 and Xavier on Dec. 18.

Edited by Joe Noser | jnoser@themaneater.com

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