Former Mizzou star Sophie Cunningham helps Phoenix Mercury tie WNBA Finals series

Back on the court after sitting out three games with a calf injury, former Missouri women’s basketball star Sophie Cunningham played a key role for the Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA Finals.

Cunningham recorded nine points, five rebounds and two assists in a 91-86 overtime win over the Chicago Sky in Game 2 on Wednesday night in Phoenix, tying the best-of-five series.

Though she didn’t record a point in the second half, Cunningham started and made major contributions in the opening frame. When the Mercury faced their largest deficit, down 21-12, Cunningham made a three-pointer. She made another three a little over a minute later, cutting the deficit to three points.

The Columbia, Missouri native’s big play of the night came in the second quarter. She sent social media into a frenzy after sending an Sky player backpedaling with a crossover dribble and then sinking yet another shot from deep. She went 3-of-4 on three-point attempts.

Mizzou head coach Robin Pingeton also took to Twitter to praise her former player, writing: “Mizzou Nation is SO proud of you! You have earned this!!!”

Brittney Griner led Phoenix with 28 points and Diana Taurasi had 20, eight of which came in overtime. Skylar Diggins-Smith finished with 13 points and 12 assists.

Cunningham, Mizzou women’s basketball’s career leading scorer, has already seen more playoff action this season than in her first two years in the league. She scored a career-high 21 points in the second round against the New York Liberty and has averaged 7.5 points, 2.2 rebounds in 15.8 minutes per game across the six contests she’s appeared in. She played in just three playoff games total across 2019 and 2020.

Game 3 of the WNBA Finals is Thursday night in Chicago.