Missouri guts out overtime win against No. 18 Texas A&M

Missouri overcame a 7-point deficit at the end of the third quarter and never trailed in overtime.
Missouri senior Sophie Cunningham (left) and Jordan Roundtree hug after a win over Texas A&M on Thursday, Nov. 8, 2019. Skyler Navarro

It was a classic SEC battle on Thursday night as Missouri (17-7, 6-4) faced off against No. 18 Texas A&M. The Tigers returned home after a tough road loss on Monday, looking for some redemption.

They got that redemption by way of a 70-65 overtime win over the favored Aggies. There were a total of nine lead changes in the game, with the score being tied seven times.

Missouri came out quick, leading 15-10 at the end of the first quarter. Senior Sophie Cunningham scored the first 8 points for the Tigers, with redshirt senior Lauren Aldridge assisting on each of the baskets.

“I love setting the tone,” Cunningham said. “When I hit shots I have that edge to me and it spreads throughout our team.”

Cunningham scored 12 of her 22 points in the first half, helping Missouri have a 34-32 halftime lead. A&M outscored the Tigers 22-19 in the second quarter, with sophomore Chennedy Carter scoring 20 points in the half.

Carter was hitting shots even with the defense as close as they could be in the first half. However, in the second half she didn’t have the same stroke, scoring only 9 points.

“Missouri didn’t change anything,” Carter said, who didn’t elaborate on the point.

While Carter didn’t have an extremely productive second half, her Aggies came out of the break on a run, outscoring Missouri 20-11 in the frame. Missouri turned the ball over 12 times in the quarter, and it seemed all was lost as A&M had a 10-point lead late in the frame.

Missouri wasn’t about to give up, as Aldridge hit a 3 in the corner to cut the lead to 52-47. After a defensive stop to end the quarter, Missouri had a great boost of confidence heading to the final frame.

“She had a couple of really timely 3s for us,” Missouri coach Robin Pingeton said. “I felt like all of her made 3s were really timely for us.”

The late 3-pointer gave the Tigers confidence, but so did a crowd of 4,513. Even with the ice and the wind outside, the Tiger faithful backed their Tigers to a big overtime win.

“I know the weather wasn’t great tonight, but I’m so thankful for our fans,” Pingeton said. “We really needed that extra boost of energy tonight.”

Sophomore Akira Levy tied the game at 61 with a running layup and 35 seconds to go in the game, spurring a Texas A&M timeout. Another Missouri stop gave it the ball with six seconds to go and an inbound in front of its own bench.

After a play was drawn up, the ball was inbounded to junior Amber Smith. She attempted to go inside for senior Cierra Porter, but turned the ball over. A&M sophomore Kayla Wells missed a relatively open jumpshot, allowing overtime to occur.

“I thought I had to get it up quick,” Wells said. “I could’ve taken one more dribble to the rim.”

In the overtime period, Missouri outscored Texas A&M 9-4, starting off the period with another timely triple by Aldridge. The Tigers never trailed in the extra period.

Missouri lost the rebounding battle 47-46, allowing 21 offensive rebounds to its 13. Texas A&M was only able to score 13 second chance points off of those offensive rebounds, leaving many points to be scored.

“It’s all about making plays down the stretch,” A&M coach Gary Blair said. “You just gotta finish.”

The win gives Pingeton 499 for her career. While most think she will gain her 500th on Sunday against Vanderbilt, she made clear that Vandy’s record is deceiving and that Missouri needs to bring the same intensity it brought tonight.

“They’ll be ready to go to battle for the front of the jersey,” Pingeton said.

Edited by Emily Leiker | eleiker@themaneater.com

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