After playing three consecutive games against teams ranked 18th or better in the RPI at tip off, the Missouri State Lady Bears head to Kansas City for a pair of games at the Roo Holiday Classic hosted by the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
Missouri State (1-7) will play Louisiana Tech (7-3) at 6:30 p.m. Thursday in a rematch of last season's first-round WNIT contest won by the Lady Bears in Ruston.
Then it's a quick turnaround to a 3 p.m. Friday game with SIU Edwardsville (4-4), coached by former Lady Bear Paula Buscher.
The Lady Bears break for Christmas after the SIUE game before returning to JQH Arena for four consecutive games, beginning with a Dec. 30 match-up with Little Rock to close the non-conference schedule.
MSU begins Missouri Valley Conference play on Jan. 4 against Indiana State, and will not leave the state of Missouri again unil Jan. 18.
The Lady Bears lead 3-1 in the all-time series with Louisiana Tech, most recently a 63-59 first-round WNIT win in Ruston last season. MSU also won both ends of a home-and-home series in 2010 and 2011, and lost to the Lady Techsters in the 1993 Sweet 16.
Missouri State is 6-0 all-time against SIUE, the last meeting a 75-69 home victory in December 2014.
Scouting Louisiana Tech
Louisiana Tech is 7-3 on the season with a pair of wins against SEC schools. The Lady Techsters feature an up-tempo offense that averages 74.7 points per game, and Kierra Anthony boasts a 23.1 scoring average that includes a 50-point game against Houston. In terms of common opponents, LA Tech lost 70-56 at Wichita State this year. As a team, the Techsters allow 68.3 points per game and shoot 42.3 percent overall, 28.3 percent from long range and 69.9 percent at the foul line.
SIUE is 4-4 overall and has played seven consecutive road games. The Cougars own wins over Missouri Valley Conference members Illinois State and Evansville while losing to Loyola. SIUE head coach Paula Buscher was Missouri State's starting point guard in 1984 and 1985, and ranked third in school history with 264 career assists when she graduated. As a team, SIUE averages 56.6 points and allows 59.1, shooting 34.6 percent overall, 26.5 percent from 3-point range and 65.5 percent at the foul line.