Mizzou Women’s Basketball (20-9, 10-5) downed the Ole Miss Rebels (16-12, 5-10), 100-65, on an emotional senior night game on Thursday at Mizzou Arena. The Tigers poured in 50 points in both halves, the most points in a half by a Mizzou team since Feb. 20, 2014, at Florida when the Tigers notched 51 points.
This win marks the first time this season that Mizzou has scored at least 100 points in a game and the first time in conference play since the Tigers scored 104 vs. Oklahoma during the 1988-89 campaign. Thirty-five points is the largest margin of victory for the Tigers in conference play since the 1984-85 season.
Sophomore guard Sophie Cunningham (Columbia, Mo.) paved the way for Mizzou, notching 32 points (11-of-13 FG, 5-of-7 3FG) while shooting 100 percent at the free throw line. The sophomore scored 23 points in the first half alone, the most in a half for Cunningham since her career-high 42-point game against Wake Forest on Nov. 22, 2015 when she tallied 25 points. Cunningham has scored 20 or more points in three consecutive games for the first time ever in her career. The last time a Tiger scored at least 26 points in three consecutive games was Sandie Prophete in 1989.
All three seniors made an impact for the Tigers as senior guard Lianna Doty (St. Louis, Mo.) dished four assists on the night, placing her squarely in second all-time in program history with 472 career assists. In her final regular season home game, redshirt senior Lindsey Cunningham (Columbia, Mo.) dropped 21 points, going 5-of-6 from the arc and tying her career high for three-pointers and total points. Senior guard Sierra Michaelis (Mercer, Mo.) added 12 points and eight rebounds of her own while setting a new career-high for assists with eight.
Lindsey Cunningham fittingly opened up the scoring for the Tigers on senior night, draining a three from well beyond the arc. Mizzou took the first lead of the night thanks to a jumper by Michaelis. The seniors accounted for 12 of Mizzou’s 24 first quarter points. It was an all-around team effort as the Tigers dished out five assists in the first quarter alone. Mizzou would finish the night with 21 assists, setting a new team-high for the season.
Redshirt junior Kayla McDowell (Cincinnati, Ohio) came off the bench to dish a beauty of a pass to Sophie Cunningham, sparking an 11-0 Mizzou run to start the second quarter. The momentum kept rolling for the Tigers as the Cunningham sisters combined to drain six consecutive three-pointers in the second quarter of play, giving Mizzou a 50-26 cushion at the half.
Mizzou clamped down defensively midway through the third quarter to continue to pull away from the Rebels. The Tigers forced six Ole Miss turnovers in the first five minutes of the quarter and limited the Rebels to just one basket over the same period of time. Meanwhile, Mizzou shot 58 percent (7-for-12) in the quarter to solidify a 75-43 lead heading into the final frame following a halfcourt heave that beat the buzzer by freshman guard Jordan Chavis (Lexington, N.C.).
The Tigers continued to dominate through the fourth quarter of play as the seniors took their final bows in front of the home crowd. As a team, Mizzou knocked down 11 free throws in the fourth quarter including a final shot from the charity stripe from Chavis to push the Tigers to the 100-point mark. All 10 Tigers scored in the game for the first time in conference play this season and the Mizzou bench accounted for 25 of the Tigers 100 points on the night.
Mizzou now has back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 1985-86 and 1986-87. The Tigers have won 10 conference games and 15 home games for the first time since 2005-06.
Mizzou travels to Tuscaloosa to play their final game of the regular season against Alabama on Sunday, Feb. 26. Tip is set for 2 p.m. CT.