Cunningham is a finalist for nation’s top small forward for second consecutive season
COLUMBIA, Mo. – Mizzou Women’s Basketball senior guard Sophie Cunningham (Columbia, Mo.) is one of five finalists for the Cheryl Miller Small Forward of the Year Award, announced by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association on Wednesday. The annual award is in its second year and recognizes the top small forward in women’s NCAA Division I college basketball. It is the second straight year Cunningham has been named a finalist for the award.
The winner of the award will be determined by a combination of fan votes and input from the Basketball Hall of Fame’s selection committee. Fan voting will take place at hoophallawards.com between Friday, March 15 and Friday, March 29. The winner will be revealed during Final Four weekend in Tampa, Florida.
The watch list is the one of three that Cunningham’s name has appeared on, as she is a top-15 candidate for the Wooden Award and a top-41 athlete for the Wade Trophy.
The Tiger senior helped lead Mizzou to its first conference tournament semifinal appearance since 1994 at this week’s SEC Tournament. Mizzou recorded wins over Florida (March 7) and Kentucky (March 8) in Greenville, S.C. In Mizzou’s semifinal matchup with Mississippi State (March 9), Cunningham scored 33 points to become Mizzou’s all-time scoring leader, as her 2,157 points surpassed Joni Davis’ (1981-85) mark of 2,126 points.
Cunningham was recently named to her third straight All-SEC First Team by the league’s coaches, becoming the first player in program history to earn All-Conference First Team honors in three consecutive seasons. In addition, Cunningham was named to the All-SEC First Team by the Associated Press for the second straight season.
The SEC’s active career scoring leader, Cunningham is averaging 18.0 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game. Her 82 three-pointers rank fifth in Mizzou single season history, while her 594 points rank seventh.
Cunningham finished the regular season ranked fourth in the SEC in scoring (17.3 ppg), third in three-point percentage (40.7), third in three-pointers per game (2.3) and third in free throw percentage (81.8). In conference play, she led the SEC in three-point shooting (46.5 percent) and threes per game (2.9). Cunningham has reached 20 points in 15 games this season, including 10 times against SEC opponents, and 30 points three times. Mizzou is 13-2 when she scores 20+, and 2-1 when she reaches 30 points.
The Tiger senior is one of three Mizzou players to score 2,000 career points. Among program records, Cunningham ranks first in scoring (2,157 points), first in free throws made (526), second in three-pointers made (235), second in three-point percentage (40.7), third in free throw percentage (83.6), fourth in points per game (17.0) and fourth in assists (384).