By: Ben Adamson
SPRINGFIELD – The Missouri State Lady Bears (21-2) tied the program’s highest ever NCAA Tournament seed with a spot on the No. 5 line and will open their 16th NCAA appearance Monday, March 22, against 12th-seeded UC Davis. The game will tip off at 6:30 p.m. Central at Bill Greehey Arena on the campus of St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, and air live nationally on ESPNU.
This marks the fifth time in school history that Missouri State has earned an at-large NCAA Tournament bid (1995, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2021), and the ninth time MSU will be a single-digit seed in NCAA play. The Lady Bears own a 14-8 record when seeded ninth or better and are 7-1 in games as the higher seed. Missouri State’s previous time as a No. 5 seed was in 2001, when the Lady Bears advanced to the Final Four.
Missouri State is 21-2 overall, won its second consecutive MVC regular season title with a 16-0 league mark, and enters the NCAA Tournament ranked 17th in the USA Today Coaches Poll and 20th by the Associated Press.
The Lady Bears boast a rich NCAA Tournament history with Final Four appearances in 1992 and 2001 and Sweet Sixteen trips in 1993 and 2019. MSU is 16-15 all-time in the Big Dance.
UC Davis is 13-2 overall and 9-1 in Big West Conference play, sweeping the regular season and tournament titles in that league. Missouri State has never played the Aggies in women’s basketball and is 2-1 against current Big West members.
The other half of the sub-regional is fourth-seeded Arkansas and No. 13 Wright State. The winners play on March 24.
San Antonio and the surrounding region will play host to the 2021 NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship, with three sites in San Antonio and additional venues in Austin and San Marcos.
First- and second-round attendance will be limited to players and player guests. Starting with the Sweet Sixteen through the Women’s Final Four, a reduced number of fans will be allowed in the Alamodome. In conjunction with local health authorities, all fans must physically distance and wear masks.