The Southwest Missouri St. Lady Bears had to win the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament to get an NCAA bid, and that’s just what they did.
Seventh-seeded MSU, which was 13-14 coming into the tournament, won four games in four days, culminating in Sunday’s 64-55 win over top-seeded Indiana St. They had to overcome a 47-39 deficit with six minutes remaining to get the win. Senior Kari Koch led four Lady Bears in double-digit scoring with 17 points. Tahnee Balerio added 15 points, Sarah Klaassen scored 13 and grabbed three rebounds and Tiff Terwelp had 10 points.
The Lady Bears’ run began with a 54-51 win over 10th-seeded Bradley last Thursday. They advanced to the semifinals by bouncing second-seeded Drake on Friday, 78-62. Then on Saturday they turned away third-seeded Northern Iowa 62-59 to earn a spot in the finals.
This marks Missouri State’s 13th trip to the NCAA Tournament since 1991 and it’s the third trip in head coach Katie Abrahamson-Henderson’s four years in Springfield. Last year the Lady Bears missed the NCAA Tournament, but bounced back by winning the WNIT.