Missouri knocks down the No. 5 Bulldogs with barrage of 3s

Sophie Cunningham had 24 points after being sick, and she and the Tigers outlasted the Bulldogs on the road.
Designed by Corey Hadfield

Senior Cierra Porter, riddled with foul trouble all night, hit a 3 with 41 seconds to go in the game for Missouri’s last basket. It gave the Tigers a 70-64 lead, and it was the dagger that put the game away for the Tigers.

Missouri (19-7, 8-4) beat the No. 5 Mississippi State Bulldogs (22-2, 10-1) 75-67 on the road Thursday evening, snapping the Bulldog’s 26-SEC regular season winning streak and 32-game home winning streak. This was the Bulldogs’ first SEC loss of the year, and just their second overall loss on the season.

Missouri stuck to its M.O., draining 11 triples. Mississippi State was also hot from behind the arc, making eight 3-pointers of its own. Whichever team put on any sort of run, the other would answer with a 3-point field goal.

Neither team was ever able to pull away from the other, as neither team lead by more than 8 points. There were eight ties in the game and 13 lead changes.

Missouri was able to keep Mississippi State senior Teaira McCowan frustrated throughout the night. She did, however, end up with a double-double, with 12 points and 13 rebounds. She shot just 4-for-11 from the field and turned the ball over three times. The Tiger defense collapsed every time she touched the ball, and forced her into decisions she didn’t want to make.

Sophie Cunningham was a gametime decision Thursday night. The senior had been, according the SEC Network commentators, throwing up all night the night before and missed the team’s shootaround.

After the game, Cunningham said she woke up at around 4:45 and had a lot of IVs in her to try and get her well. She played like nothing was bothering her, scoring 24 points with four 3s, totaling six rebounds and three assists. She played 38 of 40 minutes.

Junior Amber Smith and freshman Akira Levy also stepped up for Missouri, as Smith had 16 points and Levy had 10. Smith was consistent throughout the night, shooting 7-for-10 from the field. Levy played 22 minutes and had a team-high five assists, also turning the ball over four times. She gave Missouri huge momentum when she hit a buzzer-beating layup to end the third frame.

Missouri turned the ball over 17 times, and Mississippi State 18 times. The Bulldogs’ full court pressure forced Missouri into many of those turnovers, as the Tigers struggled at times to get the ball in bounds.

Missouri scored 24 points off of Bulldog turnovers, while Mississippi State converted 16 of their points off of Tiger turnovers.

The Tigers lost the rebounding battle 35-24, while the Bulldogs grabbed 20 offensive rebounds and scored 13 second chance points.

Missouri will return home on Sunday, Feb. 17 for a rematch with now unranked Tennessee. Tip-off is slated for 4 p.m. CST.

Edited by Emily Leiker | eleiker@themaneater.com

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