SPRINGFIELD, MO- The Missouri State University women’s basketball team will play nearly two-thirds of its 30 games on the 2012-13 schedule against teams that played in the postseason a year ago with the potential to begin with four straight on its non-conference schedule unveiled Tuesday by sixth-year head coach Nyla Milleson.
With the addition of the Missouri Valley Conference schedule, which will be released by the league later in the summer, the Lady Bears will have a total of 19 games against 14 teams that participated in a postseason tournament in 2011-12. The non-conference itself features the possibility of playing three teams with an RPI of 50 or better and four NCAA Tournament squads with seven of the 12 making the postseason a year ago.
“Our goal as a program each season is to advance to the NCAA Tournament, and this schedule not only gives us the opportunity to build a resume, but prepares us well for the conference season,” Milleson said. “I’m very excited about our returning players and welcoming our six freshmen to the team.”
The Lady Bears open the 2012-13 campaign at JQH Arena on Nov. 13 against defending WNIT champion Oklahoma State before traveling to Arkansas-Little Rock two days later to face off against the 2012 Sun Belt Tournament champions.
A trip to the Hardwood Tournament of Hope in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, awaits Nov. 20-22 as the Lady Bears play in their first international event since 2008. Missouri State opens the three-game, three-day event with 2012 NCAA Sweet 16 team Gonzaga, with a potential meeting with Louisville in the second game after the Cardinals and Central Florida meet in the first round. MSU’s third game in Mexico will be against either Oregon State, UC Santa Barbara, Winthrop or Mississippi State.
All games in Mexico will be played at the Puerto Vallarta International Convention Center. Missouri State will announce fan travel packages for both the women’s and men’s trips to Puerto Vallarta when tournament organizer Plan BC3, LLC, finalizes the men’s bracket in the coming days.
Missouri State returns to the States Nov. 29 for a home game against Oral Roberts followed by a Dec. 1 match-up with Northern Kentucky, which begins its transition to Division I in 2012-13 following a highly-successful run in the Division II ranks.
The rivalry with Missouri is rekindled in Columbia on Dec. 6 in the first meeting between the schools since 2004, before the Lady Bears take a week off for final exams prior to hosting Arkansas State on Dec. 15.
The Lady Bears head to Iowa City on Dec. 19 to take on a Hawkeye squad coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance, head across the state of Missouri two days later to take on Southeast Missouri State, and close the non-conference slate Dec. 30 at home against Coppin State in a return game from MSU’s trip to Baltimore in 2010.
Missouri State’s exhibition schedule includes home games against Truman State (Nov. 4) and Southwest Baptist (Nov. 8).
Missouri State won the MVC regular season title and finished 24-9 overall in 2012, concluding the season in the third round of the WNIT and rated 50th in the RPI.