Missouri State has been picked to win the 2013 MVC Women's Golf Championship, according to a pre-championship poll of league coaches.
Illinois State, champions for four consecutive years from 2008-11, will be looking to reclaim the title.
The 54-hole tournament will be played at Porto Cima in Lake of the Ozarks, Mo (Missouri State host). The team champion advances to the NCAA Regionals. The 10 teams will have practice rounds Saturday, and the tournament begins Sunday at 9:00 a.m. (CST). Teams will play 18 holes each day (Sunday-Tuesday). Fans are invited to attend free of charge.
Last year, Missouri State's three-round 300-313-297=910 edged Illinois State, which shot a three-round 913, including a tournament team-low 18 of 294 on Tuesday. UNI (916) and Southern Illinois (916) tied for third place, while Bradley was right behind at 918. It marked the first time in league championship history that five teams finished within eight strokes of the title.
|| Team (1st-Place Tallies)
|| Total Points
|| Missouri State (4)
|| Illinois State (5)
|| Southern Illinois (1)
|| Wichita State
|| Indiana State
|| Northern Iowa
Coaches provided divided results in this year's pre-championship poll. Missouri State and Illinois State finished within two votes of each other. In spite of receiving one fewer first place vote, the Lady Bears edged the Redbirds in total points by a tally of 94 to 92.
Bradley and Southern Illinois came in at third and fourth respectively, each receiving voting point totals in the seventies. Southern Illinois also garnered a first place vote.
Missouri State will look to build on a consistent trend in recent Valley history in which the pre-championship favorite has won the title. From 2003-10 (Bradley beat Illinois State in 2003 on the first hole of a sudden death playoff), seven-straight teams picked to win the MVC Women's Championship ended up winning the championship. 2011 broke the pattern, but Missouri State's victory last year (2012) equaled the ninth time in ten years that the favorite won the tournament.
Bradley's Danielle Lemek led the MVC in stroke average during the regular season, clocking in at 75.00 through 28 rounds, with four wins. Katie Jean of Illinois State is next, finishing the year with a 75.17 stroke average, through 30 rounds. Megan Thompson and Emma Clegg of Missouri State, and Cassie Rushing of Southern Illinois round out the top five in scoring average.
Illinois State enters the tournament as the league's top-rated team in the GolfStat team head-to-head team ratings. Missouri State is second in the ratings. Bradley, Southern Illinois, Indiana State, and Northern Iowa all have tournament victories this year with the Sycamores tallying two.