By: Ben Adamson
No. 5 missouri state lady bears (23-2) at sweet 16
|Date & Time||Sunday, March 28, 2 p.m.|
|Opponent||No. 1 Stanford (27-2)|
|Location||San Antonio, Texas|
|Radio||KTXR 101.3 FM|
|Missouri State||Game Notes | Women’s Basketball Home Page|
|Stanford||Women’s Basketball Home Page|
Starting Five – Storylines for the Sweet Sixteen
1) The Missouri State Lady Bears are making their second consecutive Sweet 16 trip and fifth in program history after defeating UC Davis and Wright State, and face No. 1 overall seed Stanford in a rematch of the 2019 Sweet 16. MSU’s No. 5 seed is tied with the 2001 Final Four team for the highest seed in program history. Missouri State is 18-15 in NCAA play with Final Four trips in 1992 and 2001 and Sweet Sixteens in 1993, 2019 and 2021. The Lady Bears are 2-2 all-time against No. 1 seeds, with wins against Iowa in 1992 and Duke in 2001.
2) Missouri State is 73-9 overall since Dec. 20, 2018, ranking seventh nationally in total wins since that date and fourth in win percentage (.890), trailing only Baylor, UConn and FGCU. Five teams ahead of the Lady Bears on the wins list have been ranked No. 1 in the AP Poll over that span.
3) The Lady Bears are 42-6 in their last 48 games away from home, including a 15-1 mark this season. Missouri State finished the regular season as one of two Division teams with an 11-0 record in true road games.
4) Missouri State has won the rebounding battle in 22 of 25 games this year and 48 of the last 55, with a plus-11.4 margin this season on pace for a school record and a .800 defensive rebounding percentage that ranks second nationally after leading the NCAA last year with a .773 mark.
5) The Lady Bears allow 55.9 points per game, ranking 20th nationally and on pace for second-best defensive average in school history behind the 1973-74 team at 45.9. No team has scored more than 73 points against Missouri State and 23 of 25 have scored below its season average. MSU has faced top-25 scoring offenses in Maryland (1st – 91.8), FGCU (7th – 81.6) and Drake (22nd – 76.4) twice.
Stanford is 27-2 overall, the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, and ranked second in both the AP and Coaches polls. The Cardinal boast four double-figure scorers and own 21 wins away from home this season. Stanford averages 78.6 points and allows 52.8, shooting 46.9 percent overall, 37.9 percent on 3-pointers and 71.1 percent at the foul line with a plus-10.8 rebound margin.
Stanford leads 3-0 in the all-time series, most recently a 55-46 win in the 2019 Sweet 16 in Chicago. The Cardinal also won a neutral game in Fort Myers, Fla., in 2015 and at home in 1993.
NCAA Tournament History
Missouri State boasts a rich NCAA Tournament history with 16 total appearances, Final Four trips in 1992 and 2001, and Sweet Sixteens in 1993, 2019 and 2021. The Lady Bears are 18-15 all-time in NCAA play, with records of 9-7 in the first round, 5-4 in the second round, 2-2 in the Sweet 16, 2-0 in the Elite 8, and 0-2 in the Final Four.
This is the ninth time Missouri State has earned a single-digit seed in NCAA play. The Lady Bears own a 16-8 record when seeded ninth or better, and are 9-1 in games as the higher seed and 9-14 as an underdog. (Full yearly breakdown on page 28).
Since Missouri State’s first appearance in 1991, only three schools (UConn, Louisiana Tech, Old Dominion) from outside the Power Five leagues own more victories, and just two (UConn, LT) have a better winning percentage in the Big Dance than MSU’s .545 mark.
Additionally, the Lady Bears are one of eight Division I programs with a Sweet 16 appearance in the 1990s, 2000s, 2010s and 2020s, along with South Carolina, UConn, Stanford, Maryland, Texas, NC State and Texas A&M.
Second Round Recap
Missouri State advanced to its second consecutive Sweet 16 with a 64-39 win over 13th-seeded Wright State. The Raiders’ 39 points were the fewest allowed by Missouri State in a tournament game, and the margin of victory was the largest for the Lady Bears in the NCAAs since 1992. Elle Ruffridge tied a career-high with 20 points, with four of her five 3-pointers coming in the fourth quarter, and Jasmine Franklin had 11 points and 11 rebounds for her third straight NCAA double-double.