Cunningham and Porter sister additions look to develop program

The day sophomore guard Lindsey Cunningham committed to Missouri in her junior year at Rock Bridge High School, she got a call from her sister, Sophie Cunningham. Sophie, an eighth-grader at the time, told Lindsey she would eventually join her at Mizzou.

Lindsey didn’t pay much attention to it, but when she got home, Sophie had Missouri coach Robin Pingeton on the phone. Sophie verbally committed to the program three days later.

The sisters had been scouted together; although Lindsey said her younger sister received her offer first, despite having never played a high school game.

The Cunninghams only played together one high school season, and both said they are looking forward to being a part of the same program next year.

“I got my work ethic from (Lindsey),” Sophie said. “She has pushed me ever since I was little. She definitely has pushed me to become a better person off the court as well, so I really look up to her.”

Now, Sophie is a senior at Rock Bridge, where she has set a precedent. The guard has helped the Bruins win three state championships, and she recently broke the school scoring record with 1,362 points.

On the other end, her older sister has become a leader with the Tigers, stepping up this year as starting point guard following an injury to junior guard Lianna Doty.

Lindsey said she thinks she and her sister will perform well together.

“(Sophie’s) a very crafty player,” she said. “Our games aren’t too similar, but she’ll bring energy, scoring. She’s got a high basketball IQ, which is something pretty much our whole team has, but I think she’ll be able to come in at a young age and really impact the game.”

This year’s recruiting class also includes forward Cierra Porter, who also plays at Rock Bridge and has family ties to Mizzou.

Her sister, Bri Porter, is a freshman forward on the team. Their father, Michael Porter, is an assistant coach, and they are also Pingeton’s nieces.

The Porters have been raised on basketball. Michael Porter said that when they lived in Indiana, the whole family would play two-on-two in the backyard together.

“Neither (Bri nor Cierra) loved the game or was super talented to begin with,” Michael said. “But they put in the time along with their brothers and started to love it, and it got to the point where it wasn’t me dragging them along, they were pretty much driving the bus.”

Bri said her sister has always been her best friend. From playing on the same team to having the same friends, the pair has done everything together.

“Having (Cierra) here with me feels right,” Bri said. “I’m really excited. I’ve been looking forward to it for a really long time and it’s finally arrived.”

The two new pairs of sisters will join twin juniors Morgan and Maddie Stock to round up a total of six sisters.

The incoming Cunningham said she thinks the family dynamic, along with the Rock Bridge connection, will help the team out.

“Us four sisters get along so well, and we read each other so well,” Sophie said. “I think having so many sisters on the team next year is really going to help our chemistry. If that spreads throughout the whole team, hopefully we can get something really special going.”

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