Mizzou was able to end their 3-game skid with a win against Florida last week, albeit a shaky one. The Tigers played very uncharacteristically, allowing an inferior Gator to team to make it a close game. The Tigers came into Thursday’s game against the Kentucky Wildcats looking to further regain their momentum. And regain it they did.
The Tigers were electric from the start, with 26 first quarter points and they didn’t let up. Jordan Frericks and Amber Smith combined for 28 points, Cierra Porter had 16 with 11 rebounds, but nobody could possibly match up to the game Sophie Cunningham had. Cunningham dropped a stunning 29 points, lighting up the court and ultimately, like she has been all year, showing why she’s the difference maker on this team.
The Tigers’ offensive production was beyond impressive, 20 points in the paint and 11 offensive rebounds meant that there were few times that Mizzou didn’t capitalize on their chances. The Tigers found their groove from beyond the arc as well, hitting 10 three-pointers off of 21 shots.
The offensive production was the Tigers’ key to victory, not just because of how great it was on Thursday night, but also because of the lack of defense that the Tigers put forth. Mizzou, who had 16 turnovers, only forced 7. The Tigers only recorded 3 steals compared to Kentucky’s 8. The one true defensive key was the Tigers’ ability to grab the rebound. 20 defensive rebounds were what turned the defensive tide for the Tigers, but one can’t help but wonder if the result would’ve been different had the Wildcats’ shots fallen.
Regardless of how the Tigers played on the defensive side of the ball, there’s something to be said about a team who can simply outscore their opponent. One can usually expect a solid performance from one player on the court every night, for the Tigers it’s usually Cunningham, but to have four different players hitting double digits in points and one of those four getting double digits in rebounds is extremely impressive. Coach Pingeton will be extremely happy with how this team played on Thursday night, and the Tigers will go into their next matchup oozing with confidence.