Cunningham’s late layup sends Missouri past South Carolina
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) Sophie Cunningham made a layup with 0.6 seconds to give Missouri a 62-60 comeback victory over No. 6 South Carolina on Sunday.
Cunningham had 26 points on 10-of-16 shooting to help the Tigers (19-9, 9-5 Southeastern Conference) win their third straight. They beat the Gamecocks (22-4, 12-2) for the second time since joining the conference.
Sierra Michaelis added 11 points, and Cierra Porter had 10 for Missouri. The Tigers trailed 48-44 after three quarters.
A’ja Wilson had 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting to lead South Carolina, and Allisha Gray added 10 points. The Gamecocks lost for the second time in three games, with the other setback coming at No. 1 UConn.
Missouri led 58-55 in the closing minutes after a pair of free throws by Cunningham, but South Carolina tied it at 60 on Wilson’s two free throws.
The Gamecocks had the ball with less than 20 seconds remaining, but Kaela Davis was called for a charge – taken by Missouri’s Lianna Doty – to give the ball back to the Tigers.
Moments later, Cunningham put Missouri up 62-60 with her layup – and Wilson was unable to attempt a shot for South Carolina following a timeout.
South Carolina: The Gamecocks were likely weary from a busy week of travel, having played at UConn on Monday, returned home to defeat Vanderbilt on Thursday and then playing at Missouri on Sunday – with a road trip to Texas A&M awaiting next week. With center Alaina Coates in foul trouble throughout the game before fouling out with 4:28 remaining, South Carolina’s imposing frontcourt was outrebounded 34-26 by the Tigers.
Missouri: The nine conference wins are the most for Missouri since joining the SEC in 2015, and the Tigers have now won five straight conference games at home – the school’s longest streak since the 2005-06 season.
South Carolina wasn’t likely to fall far in the polls following its lost at UConn, but Sunday’s defeat could cause voters to second-guess that decision. Missouri, meanwhile, didn’t receive any votes in The Associated Press poll last week, but it likely will after a signature win like Sunday’s victory.
South Carolina is at No. 23 Texas A&M on Thursday.
Missouri hosts Mississippi on Thursday.