photo/MSU Athletics

The Missouri State women’s basketball team will make its third consecutive postseason appearance after receiving the Missouri Valley Conference’s automatic bid to the 2017 Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT) Monday evening. To tip off the 21st postseason tournament trip in school history, the Lady Bears will play at Iowa on Thursday, March 16. The WNIT will announce the game time on Tuesday.

Missouri State (16-14, 12-6) finished third in the MVC, and qualified automatically as the highest finishing league school not selected to the NCAA Tournament after Drake won the MVC Tournament and UNI earned an NCAA at-large bid Monday evening.

Iowa is 17-13 overall and tied for eighth in the Big Ten with an 8-8 league mark. The Hawkeyes defeated UNI and lost to Drake in their two matchups with MVC teams this year. The Lady Bears are 4-4 all-time against Iowa, including an 89-80 win in the 2005 WNIT semifinals. IU won the most recent meeting in Iowa City in December 2012.

The Lady Bears are making their seventh WNIT appearance, and own a 10-5 record in the event, with 14 of those games taking place in Springfield. MSU dropped an overtime decision to Eastern Kentucky in the opening round of the 2002 meet, then swept the WNIT field with five straight victories in 2005 to claim their first national tournament title.

In 2010, the Lady Bears knocked off Oral Roberts and Samford before falling to Illinois in the third round at JQH Arena, and defeated Rice before falling to Arkansas in the second round in 2011. In 2012, MSU defeated UMKC and Memphis at JQH Arena before losing at eventual champion Oklahoma State in the third round. Missouri State lost to Tulsa in the 2015 first round in their last appearance.