Tigers beat the Bobcats behind big night from Cunningham, spark from Roundtree

Sophie Cunningham scored 20 points as she lead the Tigers to a nonconference victory.
Designed by Corey Hadfield

Looking to return to being a top-25 team after a second absence this season, the Missouri Tigers (9-3, 0-0) hosted the Texas State Bobcats (4-5, 0-0) Monday night at Mizzou Arena.

In front of a crowd of 3,518 the Tigers did not disappoint and pulled out a 69-50 victory. Coach Robin Pingeton even felt compelled to take the mic after the game was over and thank fans for their support on both Saturday and Monday night.

“When I took the court tonight I got pretty emotional seeing the turnout of our fans,” Pingeton said. “It could’ve been an easy night for them not to make this a priority, and we are so thankful for them.”

Missouri jumped out to a 24-14 first quarter lead, shooting 66 percent in the quarter. The quick start, along with the quick turnaround from Saturday’s loss, helped the Tigers cruise to a victory.

“You always want to get a good start on your home court,” Pingeton said. “Adrenaline and pride took over for our team tonight.”

It was the second-highest first quarter shooting performance on the year for the Tigers. The only time they shot better was against West Virginia, when they shot 80 percent in the opening quarter. It was just the second time they scored 24 or more points in an opening quarter.

Junior Amber Smith was a major benefactor of that fast Mizzou start, scoring 13 of her 15 points in the first half. She and senior Sophie Cunningham helped the Tigers early, as they both either scored or assisted Missouri’s first 11 points.

With a 14 point second quarter, the Tigers went into halftime leading 38-24. They saw that lead grow to as much as 25 in the half.

It seemed the Tigers found more success in the second half, specifically Cunningham, who scored 14 of her 20 points after the break. She would end up with three assists and three steals in the contest. It was her fourth game in a row in double figures.

Another Tiger who had a nice night was junior Jordan Roundtree. She took advantage of her first career start by scoring 10 points and totaling four rebounds and three steals.

“I wanted to go in there and continue to do the role that I do,” Roundtree said. “It all starts on the defensive end for me and to let the game come to me.”

While her start Monday was a success, it took her awhile to achieve this milestone in her career.

“I am so proud of [Roundtree],” Pingeton said. “She brings a great passion go the game and she did a heck of a job tonight.”

Throughout the night, Missouri played an up-tempo style of basketball that allowed it to score in bunches. It totaled 14 fastbreak points and scored 24 points off of Bobcat turnovers.

“We have to have that blue-collar grittiness that the other teams hate,” Cunningham said. “When we have it, we’re really, really good.”

Missouri will return to action on the road this Friday, Dec. 21. It tips-off at noon in Champaign, Illinois to take on the Fighting Illini of Illinois (8-2, 0-0).

Edited by Adam Cole | acole@themaneater.com

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