Lady Bears Tabbed as MVC Preseason Favorites
Oct. 25, 2011
St. Louis -
For the second consecutive season, the Missouri State women's basketball team has been voted the Missouri Valley Conference's preseason favorite by the league's head coaches, media representatives and sports information directors at Tuesday's (Oct. 25) MVC Media Day in St. Louis. Additionally, senior guard Casey Garrison was the panel's choice for preseason MVC player of the year, while junior forward Christiana Shorter was also selected to the preseason All-MVC team.
With 10 letterwinners and four starters back from last year's 24-11 campaign that resulted in a second-place MVC finish, Missouri State garnered 36 of 40 first-place votes and 396 total points to outpace defending champion UNI in the poll. The Panthers (322 points) grabbed the remaining four first-place votes, edging third-place Wichita by seven points.
Missouri State's selection represents the 10th time in the last two decades the Lady Bears have been the preseason choice to win the conference's regular-season title. The Lady Bears have captured the regular-season crown on seven of the previous nine occasions they have been picked to win the MVC race.
The 2010 Jackie Stiles Player of the Year, Garrison is bidding to become sixth player in league history to earn first-team all-conference honors four times, and the fifth to win multiple player of the year awards. The Bolivar, Mo., native enters her senior season ranked fifth in MSU history in scoring (1,770), second in scoring average (18.1), ninth in field goals made (610), second in free throws made (453), fifth in free throw percentage (.852), sixth in assists (391) and seventh in steals (212). She also ranks in the MVC's top 25 in points, scoring average, free throws made, free throw percentage and field goals made.
As a sophomore, Shorter was a second-team All-MVC pick and ranked second in the MVC with an 8.2 rebounding average and 12th with a 12.4 scoring average. The Tulsa native ranks fifth in Missouri State history with a 7.6 career rebounding average and seventh with 67 blocks.
Joining Garrison and Shorter on the preseason All-Valley squad were Wichita State's Haleigh Lankster, Creighton's Carli Tritz and Indiana State's Shannon Thomas.
Creighton (246) finished fourth in the polling, while Indiana State (234) came home fifth. Illinois State (224), Drake (168), Bradley (162), Evansville (68) and Southern Illinois (65) rounded out the field.
The Lady Bears will kick off the 2011-12 season Sunday (Oct. 30) with a 2:05 p.m. exhibition contest against Harding at JQH Arena. Following exhibitions against Northeastern (Okla.) State (Nov. 3) and at Missouri Southern (Nov. 5), MSU will begin its 43rd season of competition with a Nov. 11 game at Louisiana Tech.