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Cunningham, Porter shine during emotional Senior Day

Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

Tigers roll into postseason behind senior stars

Much of the 2018-2019 women’s basketball season has focused on the future — where it will go during this phenomenal senior class’s final run and after. Much of that conversation has been stoked by a team that has struggled with inconsistency as it seeks to make good on the promise of transcendent talent.

But for one afternoon, no one was concerned about the future. Instead, Sunday was all about the present and, most notably, the recent past.

Led by a combined 40 points from its senior class, Robin Pingeton’s Tigers dominated Alabama on a bittersweet Senior Night. It all started with the Mayor of Columbia herself.

If you needed any extra evidence for how much [Sophie] Cunningham not only means to the Missouri team, but Columbia in general, all you had to do was listen to her multiple standing ovations Sunday afternoon.

After pouring in 20 points and helping Missouri defeat the Crimson Tide 82-47, Cunningham came out to a host of cheers.

She hugged coach Robin Pingeton, then made her way down the bench, greeting each of the coaches as loud chants of “Sophie” came from the stands.

Cunningham fought back tears as she sat down.

Cunningham wasn’t the only senior who welled up on Sunday. Point guard Lauren Aldridge, once a member of that hated school to the west, chipped in seven points and five assists of her own. She couldn’t help but get emotional when describing her time at Ole Mizzou after the game.

Let us not forget Cierra Porter either. A member of the most famous Mizzou family of the past decade, Cierra has been talked about significantly less than her two younger brothers. However, Porter has also had the biggest impact (by far) on the court, helping turn the Tiger program from an also-ran to a perennial conference powerhouse. That’s not even mentioning the fact that she was forced to medically retire, and yet came back to finish her career just a few months later.

There will be time to celebrate and reflect on the legacy of this senior class — it has largely started with Cunningham already. For now, though, there’s still basketball to played. Here’s to hoping March is full of moments just as magical, if not more so, than Sunday.

Spring Football kicks off

It may have felt like winter in Columbia on Sunday, but according to the schedule, it’s time for spring football.

On Sunday, several players spoke to the media. Most notably, several seniors took the mics and spoke openly about being recruited by other schools due to the NCAA sanctions.

“I talked about it with a few (other seniors),” [Offensive Tackle Yasir] Durant said. “We talked about it, just about different kinds of schools and stuff like that, but it was never ‘Oh, well I’m thinking about doing this.’ It was never like that. It was like, ‘Man, whatever.’ We basically came here together, and that’s how we’re going to end it.”

Durant and several other seniors voiced their commitment to the program, with many saying the seniors have talked it over as a group. While there’s never been any suggestion of departing players, it’s comforting to hear the group loudly confirm their dedication to the Tigers and Barry Odom.

It wasn’t just sanction talk on Sunday, though. New quarterback Kelly Bryant got some time in the limelight and quickly made himself comfortable.

Matter’s Twitter feed is full of great nuggets from the first spring practice. PowerMizzou also jotted down several takeaways for subscribers and non-subscribers alike.

Yesterday at Rock M

More Links:

  • Several individuals on the Swim and Dive teams earned NCAA berths during Sunday’s Last Chance Meet. Invitations to the NCAA Championships will be announced in the coming weeks.
  • This week’s baseball matchups against Kansas State have been pushed back due to the umpteenth winter storm to ransack the Midwest this season.
  • Mizzou softball opens its SEC schedule this week after capping the non-conference with an 11-1 win over Indiana State.
  • Our Washington NFL sister site, Hogs Haven, wrote about Terry Beckner, Jr., who they say may have some mental hurdles to overcome in the league.
  • Speaking of Mizzou prospects, Bleacher Report listed Drew Lock as one of three prospects to watch in its latest NFL Mock Draft.