University of Missouri

Former Mizzou star Sophie Cunningham hits game-winner in Phoenix Mercury preseason game

Sophie Cunningham on getting drafted by Phoenix

Former Missouri star Sophie Cunningham talks about being drafted by the Phoenix Mercury.
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Former Missouri star Sophie Cunningham talks about being drafted by the Phoenix Mercury.

Sophie Cunningham always thought her shooting ability would immediately translate to the WNBA, but her game-winning heroics appear to have quickly followed.

The former Missouri star, now playing for the Phoenix Mercury, hit a game-winning three in the closing seconds to lift her team over the Seattle Storm 87-84 in a preseason game. Cunningham finished with nine points in 16 minutes. She previously had 10 points in 22 minutes in the Mercury’s preseason opener against the Los Angeles Sparks.

Despite being a second-round pick by the Mercury in April’s WNBA Draft, Cunningham continues to put herself in position to make the roster. The regular season starts on May 25, when the Mercury travel to Seattle.

Non-first round picks face an uphill battle in the WNBA, with 12 teams only have 12 roster spots to work with. Mercury fans advocated for Cunningham’s roster spot after the game, praising her for her scoring and clutch shooting.

Cunningham said after the WNBA Draft that she doesn’t care about the track record of second-round picks making teams, believing she controls her own destiny.

“I don’t care,” she said. “I’m going to own my role.”

So far, it appears she has.

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Alex Schiffer has been covering the Missouri Tigers for The Star since October 2017. He came in second place for magazine-length feature writing by the U.S. Basketball Writer’s Association in 2018 and graduated from Mizzou in 2017.

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