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Missouri women top Western Illinois in basketball opener

Missouri women top Western Illinois in basketball opener

November 7th, 2018 by News Tribune in Mizzou Sports

MACOMB, Ill. — The Missouri women's basketball team opened the season Tuesday with an 89-64 win at Western Illinois.

Missouri senior Sophie Cunningham led the scoring attack with 31 points on 12-of-20 shooting. She scored 22 points in the second half.

Lauren Aldridge and Amber Smith also reached double figures for the Tigers with 14 points each.

Missouri never trailed in the game, getting a 3-pointer from Aldridge in the opening minute. Western Illinois tied the score at 5, but the Tigers answered with a 7-0 run.

The Tigers led 18-8 at the end of the first quarter. Western Illinois opened the second on a 9-0 run to pull within one, but Missouri held onto the lead and went into the locker room ahead 35-27 at intermission.

Cunningham started her scoring spree in the second half with a 3 at the 7:30 mark of the third quarter to put the Tigers ahead 42-32. Missouri would lead by double digits the rest of the way.

Missouri finished the quarter on a 16-9 run to lead 61-44 heading into the fourth.

Cunningham scored 14 points in the final 10 minutes, shooting 6-of-7 from the field in the fourth. Missouri led by as many as 27 points late in the game.

Akira Levy had a team-high four assists for Missouri and Smith grabbed 12 rebounds for a double-double.

The Tigers shot 46.5 percent from the field and held the Leathernecks to 28.8 percent shooting. Missouri also outrebounded Western Illinois 52-32 and had 18 assists, compared to three for the Leathernecks.

Making her collegiate debut Tuesday, freshman Elizabeth Lutz (California High School) played 10 minutes off the bench for Western Illinois (0-1), shooting 0-of-3 from the field and missed both shots from 3-point range.

Missouri (1-0), ranked No. 16 by the Associated Press, will host Missouri State next Tuesday for its home opener. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. at Mizzou Arena.