-- The Missouri Valley Conference has finalized its 2017-18 women's basketball schedule, the league office announced Tuesday (Sept. 5), completing Missouri State's slate for the upcoming season.
The Lady Bears will play 13 games against 10 teams that participated in a postseason tournament in 2016-17, including six contests during the league season and seven as part of a difficult non-conference schedule.
Missouri State opens league play on Dec. 29 at Indiana State, and also visits Evansville (Dec. 31), Illinois State (Jan. 12), Bradley (Jan. 14) and Southern Illinois (Jan. 26) in the first half of the league schedule. The balance of the road schedule includes games at UNI (Feb. 2), Drake (Feb. 4), Loyola (Feb. 16) and Valparaiso (Feb. 18).
The Lady Bears begin the home portion of the MVC schedule Jan. 5 and 7 when the league's 2017 NCAA Tournament qualifiers Drake and UNI come to Springfield. MSU also has home dates with Valparaiso (Jan. 19), Loyola (Jan. 21), Bradley (Feb. 9), Illinois State (Feb. 11), Southern Illinois (Feb. 23), Evansville (March 1) and Indiana State (March 3).
The MVC Tournament will be held March 8-11 at iWireless Center in Moline, Ill.
The Lady Bears begin the season Nov. 13 at Ball State, with trips to the Junkanoo Jam in the Bahamas from Nov. 23-25 to play Baylor and Georgia Tech or Penn, Wichita State (Nov. 29), Little Rock (Dec. 4) and Alabama (Dec. 19) also on the docket.
MSU's regular-season home opener is Nov. 15 against Central Missouri, and the Lady Bears also host Missouri (Nov. 19), Wichita State (Dec. 7), Oral Roberts (Dec. 10) and Northwestern (Dec. 16) at JQH Arena. Missouri State will play one exhibition game, hosting Lindenwood on Nov. 5.
The Lady Bears return nine players from last season's team that finished third in the MVC and advanced to the WNIT. Missouri State newcomers for 2017-18 include Bri Ellis
(5-7, G, Columbia, Mo., Rock Bridge High), Abby Hipp
(6-2, F, Kansas City, Mo., St. Pius X High), Elle Ruffridge
(5-3, G, Pocahontas, Iowa, Pocahontas Area High), and Sydney Schultz
(6-2, F, Aurora, Ill., Oswego East High).
MSU season tickets are on sale now by calling (417) 836-8899 or logging on to www.MissouriStateBears.com/tickets
for more information. Single-game tickets will go on sale at a later date.