By JOE WALLJASPER
COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) - Sophie Cunningham was too much for South Carolina to handle for the second straight year, scoring 27 points to lead No. 15 Missouri to an 83-74 victory over the fourth-ranked Gamecocks on Sunday.
Cunningham, who suffered a right knee sprain last week and sat out Missouri's loss to LSU on Thursday, returned with a knee brace but showed no ill effects. She made 9 of 10 shots from the field and had seven assists and six rebounds.
Last year, Cunningham scored 26 points and hit the winning shot in Missouri's home victory over the eventual national champions.
The Tigers (14-2, 2-1 Southeastern Conference) shot 56.3 percent from the field and 61.5 percent from 3-point range. Amber Smith had 20 points and 12 rebounds.
Bianca Jackson and Tyasha Harris led the Gamecocks (13-2, 2-1) with 14 points each.
South Carolina was hit with four offensive fouls in the first four minutes, with star forward A'ja Wilson drawing two of them. Missouri led 35-29 at halftime.
Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley was ejected with 2:56 remaining in the game after being hit with her second technical foul. The ejection followed Wilson's fifth foul, with Missouri leading 69-60. Staley waved to the cheering Missouri crowd as she left the court.
South Carolina: Wilson, a 6-foot-5 All-American forward who entered averaging an SEC-best 24.6 points, managed just eight points in 19 minutes. It was the first time this season she scored fewer than 16 points.
Missouri: Smith is developing into an offensive threat in SEC play. Her 20-point day raised her scoring average in conference games to 18.3 points, almost double her season average.
South Carolina hosts Auburn on Thursday.
Missouri visits Vanderbilt on Thursday.
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