By: Eric Graves
The Tigers triumphed over the Southwest Baptist Bearcats, 96-59, in their first exhibition game of the season.
The Tigers were led by one of the youngest members of their team, true freshman Sophie Cunningham, who had 20 points on 9-12 shooting with 3 assists and 2 rebounds. The Columbia native was huge for the Tigers in this one and sparked a second half takeover that transformed an 8-point lead to a 19-point lead by the end of the third. After the game, Coach Pingeton commented on how Sophie is going to make an immediate impact on this team and this type of production out of her should be expected.
This impressive win was not all Sophie Cunningham, however. It was a team effort as they came up with a total of 21 assists, and showed great ability to move the ball throughout the evening. The passing game was strong throughout the night as the Tigers kept up the theme of post touches and passing the ball out to open shooters. The ball constantly moved through Cierra Porter and Bri Porter who are 6’ 4” and 6’ 3” respectively. They garnered a lot of attention from the Bearcat defense, which allowed the Tigers to get 10 threes to drop out of 23, an average of 43.8%, a mark the Tigers can certainly live with.
An area the Tigers struggled in that they excelled in last year was rebounding, as they barely outrebounded the much smaller Bearcats 33-29. Dominating the glass is something that should come easy to the Tigers, especially against a D-2 opponent like Southwest Baptist. With five girls who are 6’2” and above, the Tigers should be bullies in the paint.
Pingeton’s team has their next exhibition game against the Quincy Hawks this upcoming Monday at 7 p.m. at Mizzou Arena.