Women’s basketball team claims first home game victory

Basketball team defends “Our Town, Our Team” in UAPB win, 85-34.
Missouri Tigers forward Sophie Cunningham (3) dribbles past a Arkansas-Pine Bluff defender Nov. 16, 2015, at Mizzou Arena. Courtesy of MU Athletics

After an intense pre game pump-up video, the team’s slogan flashed on the screen: “Our Town, Our Team.”

In the Missouri women’s basketball team’s first home game against Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Monday, that’s just what they defended.

Out of the gate, Mizzou’s offense was slightly slow as both teams remained in single digits for the majority of the first quarter. But where Mizzou’s shooting was lacking, their breakaways were productive, scoring half their points off of turnovers.

With Mizzou in the lead of 16-11, the quarter ended with an UAPB airball.

That airball set the pace for the next quarter. Whatever jitters might have been left on the Mizzou side vanished as they scored 31 points.

It was the freshmen that got things going. Halfway through the second quarter, freshmen Sophie Cunningham and Cierra Porter combined accounted for half of the Tigers’ points. At one point, Cunningham rebounded a UAPB missed three pointer and stood for a few seconds in confusion. Then, even with nine other players in front of her, she was able to take it all the way in for a layup, untouched. The dominance was obvious.

The more the team shared the ball, the further their lead extended. And by the end of the half, that lead was extended to 26 as the team entered the locker room up 47-21.

This command continued in the third quarter as the team’s scrappy steals propelled them to a 40-point lead. UAPB only scored four points.

By the start of the fourth, the entire bench had seen playing time — a testament to the team’s depth. And with depth comes accountability.

“I think it does hold us accountable, but we talk about it as a good thing being able to sell out for the moments we’re in because you know there’s a teammate waiting to pick up where you left off and vice-versa,” sophomore forward Bri Porter said. “There is accountability but it also gives us the freedom to play as hard as we can, no holding back.”

By then, the bench’s 56 points racked up Mizzou’s lead to an insurmountable amount. For every basket UAPB made, Mizzou seemed to make a few.

With a decisive final score of 85-34, the team indeed established their slogan, defending their town and team because a Mizzou victory goes far past an individual’s outcome.

“Sacrifice the back of the jersey for what's on the front,” Mizzou coach Robin Pingeton said. “The normal thing to do is to focus on how many minutes I play and how many points I have, but in the big picture, they’re going to forget that, and what they’re going to remember is the sister to the right and the sister to the left and just the experiences that we have together as a team.”

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