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Cunningham sisters lead Missouri past UF

458 days ago
Missouri Athletics

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Mizzou Women's Basketball (18-9, 8-5) earned a 74-67 road victory over Florida on Thursday night, improving to 6-0 all-time against the Gators. The Tigers now have 18 wins for the third consecutive season for the first time since 1984-1987. Mizzou's eight victories in conference play match its most in a campaign since joining the SEC.

Sophomore Sophie Cunningham (Columbia, Mo.) was dominant, pouring in 28 points behind four three-pointers and an 8-of-9 effort from the free throw line. It marks the seventh time Cunningham has scored at least 20 points in a game this season and the 17th time in her career. The sophomore has recorded at least 16 points in three consecutive road games for Mizzou.

Senior guard Sierra Michaelis (Mercer, Mo.) chipped in 15 points, hitting five three-pointers. She has made at least four threes in a game 19 times in her career now.

Mizzou hit 13 triples as a team for the second consecutive game, shooting 46.4 percent from beyond the arc. The Tigers have racked up double-digit trifectas in five different contests this season.

After a slow offensive opening quarter for both squads, Mizzou exploded in the second quarter, scoring 24 points in the frame. While Cunningham continued to convert tough buckets, it was senior Lianna Doty (St. Louis, Mo.) who ignited a momentum-shifting 13-0 run to close the half.

With Florida up 26-22, Doty assisted sophomore Cierra Porter (Columbia, Mo.), who finished an easy basket in the paint. Doty then caused a pair of turnovers defensively before draining a rhythm triple from the wing. The big run gave the Tigers a 35-26 halftime lead.

Florida caught fire in the third quarter to erase the deficit. The Gators made 11-of-14 field goals in the frame and surged in front 45-40. Redshirt senior Lindsey Cunningham (Columbia, Mo.) squashed the run with a pair of three-pointers. The two teams ended the seesaw frame with Florida clinging to a 55-53 advantage.

Sophie Cunningham sealed the win for Mizzou, taking over in the final 10 minutes of action. The sophomore guard scored six consecutive points for the Tigers, following a trey with a tough layup in traffic to push her squad back in front, 62-56. Florida cut the deficit to three with 3:23 remaining, but freshman Amber Smith (Shreveport, La.) drained a clutch three-pointer to give Mizzou a two-possession lead it would never relinquish.

Smith was one of five different Tigers to hit a trey, with four sinking at least two on Thursday night.

Mizzou returns home Sunday for its annual Play4Kay Pink Out game. The Tigers host No. 6 South Carolina with tip set for 2 p.m. on ESPN2. The first 500 fans in attendance will receive a pink rally towel.