Missouri set to honor its three seniors on Sunday

Sophie Cunningham, Cierra Porter and Lauren Aldridge have each helped Missouri climb into the national ranks.
Designed by Corey Hadfield

Missouri’s three seniors have scored a combined 3,540 points in their time as Tigers. Seniors Lauren Aldridge, Sophie Cunningham and Cierra Porter all have had historic careers wearing the black and gold. Cunningham is chasing a scoring record, Porter is in the top-10 in rebounds and Aldridge has over 1,000 career points between Kansas and Missouri.

Each of them have unique relationships with one another. Cunningham and Porter have been playing basketball for over eight years together, and were both recruited out of eighth grade by coach Robin Pingeton.

“I remember recruiting both of them when they were in eighth grade,” Pingeton said. “They were just able to buy into our vision and blaze a new trail and just be different.”

Cunningham and Aldridge are “plane buddies,” meaning they ride with each other on every road trip.

“Sophie and I were just talking about how we are going to miss the plane rides home,” Aldridge said. “It’s all the little things that I’m going to miss.”

Aldridge was a transfer student from Kansas who came into Mizzou her sophomore year. Once she decided to transfer, it was her relationship with Porter that made Missouri a clear choice.

“I actually played AAU basketball with [Porter],” Aldridge said. “Playing together wasn’t really ever on our radar, but she was the first person to text me after I got my release to transfer.”

At the beginning of this season, the team was only planning to honor Cunningham and Aldridge, with Porter having been in medical retirement. Porter’s return means another person to honor, and makes the celebration all the more important to her teammates.

“I thought we weren’t going to have a senior day together,” Cunningham said. “I’m blessed to have her back on the team.”

No matter what the game might have meant for the season, or the milestone that might be accomplished that game, Pingeton has always preached treating every game the same. This, Pingeton admits, might be a little difficult to do on Sunday.

“With senior day, there’s a lot of emotions,” Pingeton said. “Right now for us, I think we are in a good place mentally.”

Cunningham’s chase for the Missouri scoring record has been well documented throughout the season. She currently sits in third place with 2,060 points. The all-time record is held by Joni Davis with 2,126 points. While achieving that record would be quite the accomplishment, Pingeton is urging her senior star to not focus on it.

“I told Sophie the other day that records are made to be broken,” Pingeton said. “Her legacy is far beyond if she gets the scoring record or not.”

The senior day opponent is Alabama with tip-off slated for 2 p.m. CST on Sunday March 3. Senior day celebrations will start at approximately 1:40 p.m. CST.

Edited by Emily Leiker | eleiker@themaneater.com

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