Nov. 9, 2011
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Missouri State Lady Bears (0-0/0-0 MVC) vs. Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters (0-0/0-0 WAC)
Date: Friday, Nov. 11, 2011
Tip: 7:05 p.m. (Central)
Location: Ruston, La.
Site: Thomas Assembly Center (8,000)
Radio: KWTO 98.7 FM (Rob Evans, Lynne Miller)
Live Audio: RadioSpringfield.com
Live Video: LaTechSports.com
Live Stats: MissouriStateBears.com
The Missouri State Lady Bears (0-0, 0-0 MVC) kick off their 43rd season of varsity competition Friday at 7 p.m. with a road contest against the Louisiana Tech Lady Techsters (0-0, 0-0 Western Athletic) in Ruston, La. The Lady Bears enter the season with a 21-21 record in season openers after halting a six-game opening-day losing streak with an 83-60 victory over Lamar last season. The Nov. 11 opening date with match 2006 and 2007 for the earliest start to a season in Missouri State history.
The Lady Bears have a quick turnaround following their trip to Louisiana as they host No. 9 Louisville Sunday at 2:05 p.m. The first 200 fans into JQH Arena Sunday will receive a free t-shirt and all fans are encouraged to wear white as part of the White Out promotion.
Missouri State won the only previous meeting between the schools on Nov. 27 of last season by a 62-53 score at JQH Arena.
Casey Garrison scored 15 points, Karly Buer added 13 and Regan Soldner pulled down 13 rebounds as the Lady Bears held La. Tech to 31.8 percent shooting.
Scouting Louisiana Tech
Louisiana Tech won exhibition contests over Arkansas-Monticello and Delta State by an average score of 70-50 and was led in scoring in those two contests by senior guard Whitney Jones with a 16.0 average.
The Lady Techsters return eight letterwinners and three starters from a 2011 club that went 24-8 overall, won the Western Athletic Conference with a 15-1 mark and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
Head Coach Teresa Weatherspoon, a five-time WNBA all-star and three-time league champion, is 56-18 in her fourth season at her alma mater, where she led the Lady Techsters to national titles in 1987 and 1988.
Scouting the Lady Bears
With 10 letterwinners and four starters back from last year’s 24-11 team that finished tied for second in the Missouri Valley Conference to secure the program’s second consecutive postseason bid, the Lady Bears enter the 2011-12 season as the MVC’s preseason favorite. Leading the way for Nyla Milleson’s fifth MSU team will be preseason all-conference choices Casey Garrison and Christiana Shorter.
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 in a five-member senior class are guards Jaleshia Roberson and Jasmine Malone and forwards Lacey Boshe and Regan Soldner.
An all-conference pick in 2009-10, Roberson ranks fifth in school history with 179 three-pointers made and sits 92 behind Kari Koch’s school record. Roberson made 91 threes as a sophomore.
Malone sits eighth in MSU history with an .829 free throw percentage, while Boshe and Soldner have each played in at least 93 games in a Lady Bear uniform.
In fact, Missouri State has nine players on the roster who have started at least one collegiate game and have a total of 389 career starts entering this season, all at MSU.
Perhaps even more remarkable is that those 389 starts make up 79.4 percent of a possible 490 starting positions for the Lady Bears in their 98 games over the past three seasons.