Lady Bears Open WNIT Play Thursday vs. UMKC
March 14, 2012
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2012 Women's NIT First Round
Missouri State Lady Bears (22-8/14-4 MVC) vs.
UMKC Kangaroos (22-11/11-7 Summit League)
Date: Thursday, March 15, 2012
Tip: 7:05 p.m. (Central)
Location: Springfield, Mo.
Site: JQH Arena (11,000)
Radio: KTXR 101.3 FM
Live Audio: RadioSpringfield.com
Live Video: Bears All-Access
Live Stats: MissouriStateBears.com
The Missouri State Lady Bears open their third consecutive appearance in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament Thursday at 7:05 p.m. against the UMKC Kangaroos at JQH Arena.
The Lady Bears (22-8) saw their bid to sweep both the Missouri Valley Conference regular season and tournament titles fall short in a 56-47 semifinal loss to Creighton in the league meet on March 10. UMKC (22-11), meanwhile, lost a heartbreaker in overtime in the Summit League championship game, falling 78-77 to South Dakota State with an NCAA bid on the line. The Kangaroos finished fourth in the Summit regular season race.
Missouri State is making its fifth WNIT appearance and boasts an 8-3 record in the event with a championship in 2005. MSU has now played all 12 of its WNIT games at home.
Thursday’s game will be an historic one for seniors Lacey Boshe and Casey Garrison, who will tie Jackie Stiles’ school record of 129 games played when they step on the floor.
Missouri State is 5-1 all-time against UMKC, though the schools haven’t met since December 1999. MSU is 3-0 against the Kangaroos at home.
UMKC is 22-11 and finished fourth in the Summit League with an 11-7 conference mark. The Kangaroos lost the conference tournament championship game by one point in overtime against South Dakota State.
The Kangaroos are led in scoring by Dayon Hall-Jones at 17.0 points, Kim Nezianya scores 11.1 points with a team-high 7.8 rebounds, and Eilise O’Connor averages 4.7 assists to go with 10.7 points.
As a team, UMKC averages 71.8 points and allows 66.0 while shooting .407 overall, .352 on threes and .718 from the free throw line.
The Lady Bears are making their fifth appearance in the tournament with an all-time record of 8-3 in the event. MSU dropped an overtime decision to Eastern Kentucky in the opening round of the 2002 meet, then swept the WNIT field with five straight victories in 2005 to claim their first national tournament title. In 2010, the Lady Bears knocked off Oral Roberts and Samford before falling to Illinois in the third round at JQH Arena, and defeated Rice before falling to Arkansas in the second round last year.
About the WNIT
The 64-team, single-elimination WNIT will consist of 31 automatic berths and 33 at-large selections, with all games played at host school sites. An automatic bid was offered to each established Division I conference to the team that finished highest during the regular season and did not receive a bid to the NCAA Tournament. The 33 at-large bids were filled by the top remaining teams available, as decided by a series of factors. All Division I teams with overall records of .500 or better are considered for the at-large berths.
Dates for the 2012 WNIT include first-round games on March 14-16 second-round contests on March 17-19, third-round match-ups on March 21-23, quarterfinal games on March 24-26, semifinal pairings on March 28-29, and the championship game on March 31.