Graphic courtesy of Missouri Valley Conference

Missouri State Lady Bears Withdraw From Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in Moline

The Missouri Valley Conference women’s basketball tournament took a bizarre turn Saturday as the Missouri State Lady Bears withdrew from the tournament after learning about a positive case of COVID-19 on the part of their semifinal opponent, Bradley.

The Valley says in a statement that both Bradley and Drake, who also had one positive test for the virus, had enough available non-impacted players and bench personnel to safely compete.

As a result, the conference has completely rescheduled the remaining portion of the tournament to have Bradley play Loyola Saturday night, with the winner moving on to play Drake in Sunday’s championship game.

Drake, being the highest remaining seed left in the tournament, gets the bye into the finals.

The Missouri-State/Bradley game has been deemed a “no contest.”

Missouri State Athletics Communications released the following statement Saturday afternoon:

MOLINE, Ill. – With the program’s participation in the NCAA Tournament at the forefront of the university’s decision, Missouri State administrators late Saturday to withdraw from the remainder of the Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament.

The 17th-ranked Lady Bears (21-2) are the top seed at this year’s MVC Tournament and were slated to play Bradley at 1 p.m. today in the tournament semifinals. The game will be deemed as a “no contest.”

“Our top priority is to be able to play in the NCAA Tournament,” said Missouri State Director of Athletics Kyle Moats. “Our players lost that opportunity last year with the pandemic and the cancellation of the postseason. We have to ensure that our players and our staff get that opportunity this year.”

Each MVC program is required to undergo daily COVID-19 testing for the week preceding and throughout the 2021 MVC Women’s Basketball Tournament. Missouri State has not had any positive tests in the seven-day Valley protocol leading up to or during the MVC Tournament.

A single positive result was discovered in Bradley’s Tier 1 personnel as part of Friday evening’s testing, and subsequent contact tracing revealed that BU has enough available and non-impacted players and bench personnel to compete. 

Moats noted the team will return to Springfield today and prepare for Monday’s NCAA Tournament field announcement.

“This feels a lot like last year,” said MSU head coach Amaka Agugua-Hamilton. “It’s very unfortunate but playing in the NCAA Tournament is a priority for us, especially after missing the opportunity last season. Although we will miss out on what could have potentially happened for us in Moline, we look forward to the Big Dance!”

Here’s the news release from the Missouri Valley Conference:

The Missouri Valley Conference has announced a change in Saturday’s (March 13) schedule of the 2021 MVC Women’s Basketball Tournament as well as a start time change for Sunday’s (March 14) final.
 
Each MVC program is required to undergo daily COVID-19 testing for the week preceding and throughout the 2021 MVC Women’s Basketball Tournament.  Beginning Wednesday (March 10), Genesis Health Systems has partnered with the Conference to provide on-site antigen testing and confirmatory PCR tests of each team’s Tier 1 personnel throughout Hoops in the Heartland.  A single positive result was discovered in both Bradley’s and Drake’s Tier 1 personnel as part of Friday evening’s testing, and subsequent contact tracing revealed that both institutions have enough available and non-impacted players and bench personnel to safely compete.  Continuing use of the Conference’s COVID-19 contact tracing guidelines and protocols during the tournament was endorsed by the Rock Island County Health Department prior to the start of the tournament.  Neither Loyola nor Missouri State had a positive test following Friday’s testing.
 
With the program’s participation in the NCAA Tournament at the forefront of the university’s decision, Missouri State, which was scheduled to play Bradley at 1 p.m. CT, has withdrawn from the remainder of the tournament.  The 17th-ranked Lady Bears (21-2) were the top seed in this year’s MVC Tournament and earned an opening-round victory over No. 8 seed Southern Illinois on Friday.  The Bradley-Missouri State will be deemed as a “no contest.”  MSU Director of Athletics Kyle Moats noted the team will return to Springfield today and prepare for Monday’s NCAA Tournament field announcement.   No. 5 Seed Bradley will play No. 6 Seed Loyola at 6 p.m. CT today.  No. 2 Seed Drake, as the highest remaining seed, will advance to Sunday’s final, which has been moved to 4 p.m. CT.  Each game can be viewed on ESPN+.
 
SATURDAY, MARCH 13
6:02 pm — Bradley/Loyola (ESPN+)
 
SUNDAY, MARCH 14
4:02 pm — Bradley/Loyola winner vs. Drake (ESPN+)
 
The re-seeding policies above were approved in advance of the tournament by the league’s athletics directors.  Protecting higher (better) seeds and protecting the sanctity of the bracket were identified as the top priorities in the reseeding process.  MVC athletically related activities will take place only to the extent permitted by local environments and applicable national, state, local and institutional guidelines in order to safeguard the health and safety of participants, staff and fans. 

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