Lady Bears Put Finishing Touches on 2010-11 Schedule
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - The Missouri State University women's basketball team will kick-off the season at home for the second straight year as part of a 2010-11 schedule that could feature as many as 18 regular-season contests against clubs that earned postseason bids last season. Highlighting the slate will be the Lady Bears' fourth appearance in the Preseason Women's National Invitation Tournament, a five-game home stand and a three-game December trip to the East coast that will include a showdown with Big East power Georgetown.
Fresh off their first trip to the postseason in four years, the Lady Bears of head coach Nyla Milleson will be challenged early and often, facing as many as seven postseason qualifiers in their first eight games. In addition to eight televised games included in its recently-announced institutional television partnership with KY3, Inc., at least two Missouri State contests-its home match-up with Illinois State on Jan. 11 and its road game with Wichita State on Feb. 17-will be broadcast live on the Missouri Valley Conference Television Network in 2010-11.
"We're excited about the season and the opportunities that lie ahead of us," Milleson said. "I look at our schedule and see some really solid teams with quality players coming back. Certainly being able to be a part of the Preseason WNIT is a great honor, as well as a great challenge, for our program. We'll play several teams that, like us, are looking to build on their experiences in the postseason last year, so it won't be easy. The Valley will be as tough as ever, with a number of experienced leaders returning, but our kids have worked hard over the summer and we're ready for the challenge."
After exhibition games against Rogers State (Nov. 1) and Quincy (Nov. 7), the Lady Bears will open their 42nd season and Preseason WNIT play against defending Southland Conference champion Lamar on Nov. 12 at JQH Arena. The 2010 Preseason WNIT features seven teams that won their conference tournaments in 2009-10, and utilizes a three-game guarantee format, with opening-round games slated for Nov. 12-13. Second-round games will be played Nov. 14-15, with semifinal games on Nov. 17-18, and the championship to follow on Sunday, Nov. 21. Teams that lose in the first two rounds will play consolation games on the second weekend, Nov. 19-21. All games will be hosted by participating schools, and sites will be announced at the conclusion of the preceding round.
Following the WNIT, the Lady Bears will host five straight games at JQH Arena from Nov. 27 through Dec. 9, including three against postseason qualifiers from last year. Perennial NCAA participant Louisiana Tech will visit Springfield on Nov. 27 to open the home stand, followed by a date with 2010 WNIT qualifier Oral Roberts on Nov. 30. Another WNIT participant from last season, Eastern Michigan, will come calling on Dec. 3, before the Lady Bears wrap up the home portion of the non-conference season with games against Arkansas State (Dec. 5) and SIU Edwardsville (Dec. 9).
Missouri State hits the road to close out the non-conference slate, beginning with a Dec. 12 tilt against Saint Louis at Chaifetz Arena. Next, MSU embarks on a three-game swing to the East coast that will include a pair of games in Baltimore against Coppin State (Dec. 17) and Morgan State (Dec. 21), and a contest against nationally-ranked Georgetown (Dec. 19) in Washington, D.C.
The Lady Bears will kick off their 28th season in the Missouri Valley Conference with home games against Southern Illinois (Dec. 31) and Evansville (Jan. 2), before hitting the road to take on a pair of clubs in UNI (Jan. 6) and Bradley (Jan. 8) that have figured prominently in the Valley race the past two years. MSU returns to Springfield for a rare mid-week match-up with three-time defending league champion lllinois State on Jan. 11. The Lady Bears will also entertain Indiana State (Jan. 16) and Wichita State (Jan. 21) as part of their longest conference home stand of the year.
After heading north for a two-game swing against Creighton (Jan. 27) and Drake (Jan. 29), Missouri State will welcome Bradley (Feb. 4) and UNI (Feb. 6) to JQH Arena to open the second half of the MVC slate. Next, the Lady Bears will be challenged with a stout three-game road stretch that will include contests against Indiana State (Feb. 10), Illinois State (Feb. 12) and Wichita State (Feb. 17).
The Lady Bears, who return 10 letterwinners and four starters from last year's 22-11 squad, will conclude the conference season with home games against Drake (Feb. 25) and Creighton (Feb. 27), followed by return trips to Evansville (March 3) and Southern Illinois (March 5). Missouri State's home finale against Creighton will not only represent the last game at JQH Arena for its two seniors, but will also be designated as the Lady Bears' annual Pink Zone game benefitting breast cancer awareness.
For the fourth straight year, the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament will return to The Family Arena in St. Charles, Mo. The 10-team format will begin with two games on Thursday, March 10, continuing with four quarterfinal games on Friday, March 11, two semifinal games on Saturday, March 12. The tournament will conclude with the championship on Sunday, March 13.
For information on 2010-11 Missouri State Lady Bear season ticket packages, call the Missouri State Athletics Development office at (417) 836-4143. When available individual game tickets will be available for purchase on-line at www.MissouriStateTix.com, and additional game times will be posted online at www.MissouriStateBears.com, the official Web site of Missouri State athletics.