Senior day is all about managing emotions, and emotions today were going to be high because it was senior day for a trio of Mizzou seniors who have meant an awful lot to the Missouri women’s basketball program.
The Tigers handled emotions just fine and came out of the gates hot and dominated Alabama from the tip, doing exactly what they needed to do to win the game. Shooting over 50% from 3 when attempting 29 of them will win you a lot games, and this one wasn’t close.
Lauren Aldridge, Cierra Porter, and Sophie Cunningham has been a transformational trio for the Missouri basketball program. Aldridge transferred in from Kansas after her sophomore season and became a mainstay in the back court the last two years. Porter un-retired to provide shooting and an interior presence. And then there’s Sophie.
Take a moment to enjoy all of this:
Sophie exits the floor for the final time. Seemed pretty emotional walking off the court. The crowd is chanting “Sophie.” pic.twitter.com/LufxjSub81— Alex Schiffer (@TheSchiffMan) March 3, 2019
Four years ago Mizzou got a commitment from a local legend. Sophie Cunningham has already built up her reputation in Columbia and around the state or Missouri. National accolades in the form of a McDonalds All-American invite were heaped onto Cunningham before she enrolled at Missouri.
But it was what she accomplished after enrolling that made the difference. Under Robin Pingeton’s guidance, Missouri was already improving from the level the program was at when she arrived. Three straight trips to the NIT proved as much. But adding Sophie to the roster made them a tournament team, and as a sophomore she helped the Tigers truly break out.
11-5 in league play two years in a row, 10-6 this year, all in the best womens basketball conference in the country. Sophie has helped elevate the Mizzou into a national brand, and put the program in really really good place.