IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Mizzou Women's Basketball dropped its season opening contest to 2016-17 Conference USA champion Western Kentucky, 79-76, on Friday afternoon at the Hawkeye Challenge in Iowa City, Iowa. Junior Sophie Cunningham notched a team-best 25 points and redshirt senior Jordan Frericks poured in 24 points in her return from injury. Junior Cierra Porter added 10 points and 14 rebounds.
With the score knotted at 70-70 with 2:04 remaining, Western Kentucky's Sidnee Bopp sunk a 3-pointer from well beyond the arc to give the Hilltoppers a three-point edge. Bopp was 3-of-7 from deep in the game. Western Kentucky would maintain at least a one-point lead for the remainder of the game. A tough bucket down low by Mizzou's Frericks trimmed the deficit to 75-74, but WKU guard Tashia Brown answered with a contested jumper to push the Hilltopper lead to 77-74 with 14 seconds left. Brown scored a game-high 30 points.
- Cunningham led Mizzou with 25 points on 9-of-14 shooting from the field. She added six rebounds and two assists.
- Cunningham now has 21 outings in her career in which she's scored at least 20 points.
- With a buzzer beating layup at the end of the second quarter, Cunningham surpassed 1,000 career points, becoming the 35th member of Mizzou's 1,000-point club.
- Frericks contributed 24 points, making 11-of-16 field goals in 24 minutes of action. The 24 points were just three points shy of her career high.
- Porter snatched a team-high 14 rebounds, one shy of her career high. She added 10 points, sealing her 14th career double-double. Porter had a team-best 12 double-doubles during the 2016-17 campaign.
- Redshirt junior Lauren Aldridge played a team-high 38 minutes and recorded six assists, one shy of her career high.
- Cunningham and Frericks are just the third Tiger duo in the last 15 seasons to both score at least 24 points in a single game (Breanna Brock/Christine Flores - 2012 & Raeshara Brown/Christine Flores - 2011).
- Cunningham and Frericks are two of just nine active SEC players with more than 1,000 career points. Mizzou is one of three teams in the league with multiple players having more than 1,000 career points, alongside Alabama and Mississippi State.
- Cunningham is the second-fastest Tiger to reach 1,000 career points, trailing only Julie Helm, who had 1,065 career points through two complete seasons.
- Frericks' 24 points on Friday were the most she's scored in a game since Feb. 26, 2015 vs. Texas A&M.
The Tigers continue play at the Hawkeye Challenge on Saturday in Iowa City, Iowa. Tip time and opponent will determined following Friday's Iowa-Quinnipiac game.