By: Ben Adamson
SPRINGFIELD – Following a 23-3 season and their second Sweet Sixteen appearance in as many NCAA Tournaments, the Missouri State Lady Bears are ranked 14th in the final USA Today/WBCA Coaches Poll released Monday, April 5.
MSU’s final ranking is the program’s highest since finishing fourth in 2001 and marks the first time in school history that Missouri State is ranked to end three consecutive seasons. The Lady Bears ended the 2018-19 campaign ranked 24th and finished last season in the No. 19 spot. Missouri State has been ranked in the last 35 USA Today polls dating to Nov. 18, 2019. MSU finished year ranked 20th by the Association Press, which releases its final poll before the NCAA Tournament.
Missouri State tied a school record for fewest losses in a season in 2020-21 and matched the program’s best-ever NCAA Tournament seed with a No. 5, defeating UC Davis and Wright State in the first two rounds before falling to eventual national champion Stanford in the Sweet Sixteen.
The Lady Bears set a school record with a plus-10.8 rebound margin for the season and allowed 57.2 points per game, the second-best defensive average in school history. The team also post perfect road (11-0) and conference (16-0) records for the first time.
Senior Brice Calip was the Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year, junior Jasmine Franklin earned Defensive Player of the Year honors, and head coach Amaka Agugua-Hamilton was the MVC Coach of the Year for the second year in the row. Coach Mox was also one of 10 finalists WBCA National Coach of the Year.