Stock watch: Missouri women’s basketball freshman are pivotal

Women’s team continues to struggle with turnover-steal ratio while underclassmen take a backseat on offensive end.
Within the final seconds of the third quarter, freshman Sophie Cunningham sinks a buzzer beater three-pointer to extend the Tigers' momentum into the final quarter. However, the boost wouldn't be enough for Missouri as they fell to the Bulldogs 65-50.

The Missouri women’s basketball team (18-6, 5-6 SEC) looks to rebound from two straight conference losses, most recently Sunday’s loss to No. 11 Mississippi State (21-4, 8-3 SEC).

In a bracket projection released by ESPN on Tuesday, Mizzou looked to be a seven-seed. To uphold that projection, the Tigers will need to return to the winning column against Alabama (14-10, 3-8 SEC) on Thursday and Arkansas (10-15, 5-6 SEC) on Sunday at Mizzou Arena. Here is the stock watch ahead of this week’s games:

Stock Up

Sophie Cunningham shooting: The talk of the Tigers for much of the year, freshman guard Sophie Cunningham leads Missouri in points per game, averaging 13.3.

Cunningham poured in 13 and 17 points against Mississippi State and Georgia, respectively. And with the struggles of her teammates on the offensive end, it’s been Cunningham’s ability at times that’s kept Missouri in games.

In the next few games, Cunningham must continue her successful shooting stint as the Tigers will certainly need it going forward.

Rebounding remains solid: A team not known for their rebounding, the Missouri women’s basketball team outrebounded Mississippi State on Sunday — one of the only highlights.

Jordan Frericks, the 6-foot-1 junior, remains a key contributor in this realm of play. Frericks is leading the Tigers in rebounding with an average of 8 per game, and she grabbed 10 boards against the Bulldogs on Sunday.

It’s amazing to see someone of her height excel so well in such a critical area of the game, and to get back on the winning track, she’ll need to continue to do this.

Stock Down

Three-point shooting: A team that began the year 13-0, the women’s basketball team has become known for their performance from the perimeter. Unfortunately, in the previous two games, the Tigers have struggled mightily from downtown.

Facing teams like Mississippi State and Georgia, Mizzou must’ve known their success from the outside would be keyed on. And it was. Mizzou has shot a combined 8-32 from 3-point range in their most recent losses.

Missouri has shot 32 percent in total this year, and to pick up wins, their current numbers need to creep back to that number.

Cierra Porter has struggled: Along with Cunningham, Cierra Porter’s contributions as a freshman have been pivotal to Missouri’s success. But in the previous two games, the 6-foot-4 forward has struggled.

Against the two Bulldogs, Porter shot 2-12 from the field, a number that falls vastly under her 51 percent from the field average. Porter has rebounded well in both games, and if that can continue and her scoring can creep back up, Missouri should be in good shape.

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