Women’s basketball downs New Orleans 81-45 for seventh straight win

Junior guard Sophie Cunningham redeemed herself with an 18-point performance.
Sophomore guard Sophie Cunningham, 3, drives past an Arkansas defender to the basket. Cunningham had 19 points and one block in her 38 minutes of play.

Junior Sophie Cunningham jumped into the passing lane, got a steal and raced to the other end to finish off the layup with 6:31 left in the first quarter.

Just like that, Cunningham was back on track, and the Tigers were off and running.

For Cunningham, it was a bounce-back game after she scored just one point and went 0 for 4 from the field in Thursday’s win over Kansas State.

Cunningham had 18 points to lead Missouri to an 81-45 win over New Orleans, extending the Tigers’ win streak to seven games.

Cunningham had everything working for her against the Privateers, hitting 6 of 7 from the field. Missouri’s leading scorer, she drove to the basket with ease, scoring a nifty reverse layup after a baseline drive with 7:01 left in the second quarter.

Cunningham wasn’t looking to force things, but instead had the goal of playing within the offense.

“I wasn’t going in here trying to get my points tonight,” Cunningham said. “I was trying to go out and do what my team needed me to do. I did get some points tonight, but that wasn’t my main focus.”

Head coach Robin Pingeton liked the unselfish play of the Tigers’ offense and was pleased with the performance of Missouri’s full-court press.

“Any time you have 20 assists on 29 field goals, that’s a positive thing,” Pingeton said. “Defensively, this was the first time we applied some full-court pressure, and I thought we saw some good things out of that.”

That full-court press proved to be effective for Missouri as it wreaked havoc on New Orleans’ ball handlers. The Tigers used their size to force 20 Privateer turnovers that led to 27 points off turnovers.

“We had some possessions where we really anticipated well,” Pingeton said. “Our defense created our offense a little bit, and I thought we did a good job with our break and with playing quickly but not in a hurry.”

Another key performer for the Tigers was redshirt senior Jordan Frericks. Frericks had a game-high nine rebounds and was active defensively with a block and three steals.

Sophomore guard Jordan Chavis continued her strong shooting, spacing the floor with 11 points and a team-high three 3-pointers.

Next up, the Tigers will face in-state rival Saint Louis University on Friday at Mizzou Arena. The Tigers will look to avenge last season’s 72-61 loss to the Billikens, where Missouri squandered a 15-point lead and was outscored 32-8 in the fourth quarter.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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