Garrison Named All-MVC, Lady Bears Seventh in Preseason Poll
ST. LOUIS -- The Missouri State women's basketball squad was voted seventh in the Missouri Valley Conference preseason poll while sophomore guard Casey Garrison was named to the league's preseason all-conference squad at Tuesday's (Oct. 27) MVC Media Day in St. Louis.
Garrison turned in one of the top all-around freshman campaigns in school history in 2008-09, culminating in her selections as MVC Freshman of the Year and First Team All-MVC. The Bolivar, Mo., product's 476 points registered as the 19th-highest total in Missouri State history, while her 15.9 ppg. scoring average was the second-best mark for a true freshman in all of Division I women's basketball last season.
The 6-0 guard finished the season trailing only NCAA Division I scoring leader Jackie Stiles, who poured home 618 points during the 1997-98 campaign, on MSU's freshman scoring list. A four-time MVC Newcomer of the Week honoree, Garrison also rated as the school's second-leading freshman shot-blocker (0.8 bpg.) and finished the year among MSU's all-time top five freshmen in assists (3.1 apg.) and rebounds (6.1 rpg.) as well, and became the first Lady Bear freshman to lead MSU in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and blocked shots over a complete season.
Garrison was the fifth Lady Bear to earn The Valley's rookie of the year honor, joining an elite group that includes Secelia Winkfield (1990), Roshonda Reed (1996), Jackie Stiles (1998), Jenni Lingor (2002) and Kari Koch (2003).
Creighton (393 points) was the pick of the Valley's coaches, sports information directors and media affiliates for the top spot in the preseason poll. The Bluejays return three starters, including preseason Player of the Year pick Megan Neuvirth and 2008-09 All-MVC honoree Chevelle Herring.
Creighton narrowly edged Illinois State (340), which returns four starters, in the preseason poll and Drake (296), last year's third-place finisher. Fourth-place pick UNI (253) brings back all five starters from last year's sixth-place MVC squad, while this year's fifth-place pick, Indiana State will be looking to build on a 10-8 conference mark that included wins over every conference team except the Lady Bears.
Coming off an 10-20 campaign and a seventh-place regular-season finish in the MVC in head coach Nyla Milleson's second season as head coach, Missouri State tallied 188 total points in the preseason poll to finish just 26 points behind Bradley, which totaled a school-record 21 wins in 2008-09. The Lady Bears return four starters and eight letterwinners overall this year.
Rounding out the order of finish were defending MVC Tournament champ Evansville (108 points) in seventh, with Wichita State (97) close behind in ninth, followed by Southern Illinois (61).
Illinois State's Maggie Krick joined Garrison and Neuvirth on the MVC's preseason all-conference team, along with fellow 2008-09 first-team all-league picks Jordann Plummer of Drake and Kelsey Luna of Indiana State.
The Lady Bears will kick off the 2009-10 season Sunday (Nov. 1) with a 2:05 p.m. exhibition contest against Missouri Western at JQH Arena. After another exhibition (Nov. 7) versus Arkansas Tech, MSU will begin its 41st season of competition with a Nov. 14 home game against Georgetown.