Tuesday, February 21, 2012 | Women's Basketball
Women's Basketball Weekly Notebook (Feb. 21)

DOUBLE DOSE OF TV
This weekend the MVC TV network will spotlight three of the league’s top five teams as part of its annual “Wildcard Weekend” broadcasts. Each season the MVC, along with broadcast partner FS Midwest, reserves clearance windows on February dates and selects the final regular-season telecasts at the midpoint of the conference season.

This year’s broadcasts will feature Creighton (9-6 MVC, 4th) at UNI (8-6 MVC, 5th) on Feb. 24 at 8:30 p.m., in Cedar Falls, Iowa, and then Wichita State (11-3, T-1st) at Indiana State (6-8 MVC, 7th) on Feb. 26 at 2 p.m. at the Hulman Center in Terre Haute, Ind.  

TRAFFIC JAM
With just two weekends left in the regular-season, there is still much to be determined in the league standings. 

Currently, Missouri State and Wichita State are tied for the league lead with identical 11-3 records and four games remaining on the schedule (at Illinois State/Indiana State, vs. Bradley/UNI). 

Illinois State is alone in third place (10-4) with four games remaining (vs. Missouri State/Wichita State, at Evansville/Southern Illinois), while Creighton sits in fourth at 9-6 with just three games remaining (at UNI/Bradley, at Drake). UNI (8-6, fifth) has four games remaining (vs. Creighton/Drake, at Missouri State/Wichita State).

The Lady Bears, Shockers, Redbirds, Bluejays and Panthers all still have a chance of at least a share of the league title, with some roads to the championship more difficult than others. A complete breakdown of possible final records for each team can be found on page three of this week’s release.

THIS WEEK'S MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
Thursday, Feb. 23 Friday, Feb. 24 Sunday, Feb. 26 
*WSU @ ILS, 7:30 PM *DU @ BU, 6 PM *CU @ BU, 2 PM
  *MSU @ INS, 6:05 PM *UE @ SIU, 2:05 PM
  *CU @ UNI (MVC TV), 8:30 pm *MSU @ ILS, 2:05 PM
    *WSU @ INS (MVC TV), 2:05 PM
    *DU @ UNI, 3 PM 


TOP-THREE TEAM HIGHLIGHTS
Missouri State (18-6, 11-3 MVC)
 • Winners of 14 of last 17 games
 • Currently on an eight-game winning streak
 • 14 double-digit victories (most in MVC)
 • League-best RPI of 55 in latest CBN rankings (Feb. 20)
 • Only MVC team with top-70 RPI rank each week
 • 11-1 home record (one of 40 DI teams with one or fewer losses)
 • Three wins against top-100 teams (most in MVC)
 • Seven road/neutral wins
 • No. 12 in CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll
 • 16-1 this season when scoring at least 70 points
 • 14-1 when shooting 40 percent or better
 • +9.2 scoring margin (best in MVC)

Wichita State (17-8, 11-3 MVC)
 • Winners of 14 of last 17 games
 • Allowing just 58.1 ppg (best in MVC)
 • Eight road/neutral wins (most in MVC)
 • Second-highest road win total (7) since joining MVC
 • Earned program’s second-best ever RPI of 67 on Jan. 16
 • 12 double-digit victories (2nd in MVC)
 • No. 25 in CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll
 • Lead league with .446 FG %
 • Lead league with .384 FG % Defense

Illinois State (14-9, 9-3 MVC)
 • Winners of seven of last nine games
 • Have won 23-straight regular-season MVC home games (third best all-time in league history)
 • 11 double-digit victories (T-3rd in MVC)
 • No. 2 in nation in three-point FG % (39.7)

STREAK FOR THE CASH
Missouri State is currently riding an eight-game hot streak, its best of the season, with just three weeks remaining in the conference season.  Below is a list of the longest winning streaks of the season.

2011-12 Longest Winning Streaks
Wichita State - 10 (D9 – J21)
Missouri State - 6 (J21 – present)
Bradley - 5 (N30 – D21)
Drake - 4 (D1 – D18)
Indiana State - 4 (D30 – J12)
Creighton - 3, twice (J12 – J20; J27 – F2)
Illinois State - 3, three times (N26 – D2; J20 – J27; F3 – F12)
UNI - 3, three times (N25 – D1; D31 – J7; J29 – F4)

VALLEY HOME WINNING STREAKS
Illinois State currently holds the longest active home winning streak in Valley contests at 23, dating back to Jan. 21, 2010.  The Redbirds were a perfect 9-0 at home in league play last season, and have won their seven home contests so far in 2011-12. Illinois State will put its streak to the test this weekend as the league’s top two teams, Missouri State and Wichita State, visit Redbird Arena in Normal, Ill. Below is a look at the longest home Valley winning streaks of all-time (minimum of 10 consecutive wins):

Valley Home Winning Streaks
66 – Missouri St. (Mar. 3, 1989 – Jan. 20, 1997)
28 – Creighton (Feb. 2, 2001 – Feb. 13, 2004)
23 – Illinois State (Jan. 21, 2010 – Present)
20 – Missouri State (Feb. 15, 2003 – Mar. 3, 2005)
20 – Illinois State (Jan. 30 1988 – Feb. 28, 1990)
20 – Illinois State (Feb. 4, 1985 – Jan. 1, 1988)
19 – Drake (Feb. 3, 1996 – Jan. 17, 1998)
18 – Southern Illinois (Jan. 21, 1995 – Jan. 5, 1997)
15 – Missouri State (Feb. 18, 2000 – Jan. 31, 2002)
14 – Missouri State (Jan. 9, 1999 – Feb. 5, 2000)
12 – Wichita State (Feb. 25, 1999 – Jan. 18, 2001)

20-SOMETHING
Drake’s Rachael Hackbarth currently leads the league in scoring at 19.8 points per game, one season after former Bulldog Kristin Turk led the league in scoring at 20.0 ppg.

Just three times in Valley history has the league featured two teammates that averaged 20.0 points or more in back-to-back seasons, including – 

Missouri State’s Kari Koch (20.2 ppg in 2005-06) and Jenni Lingor (20.0 ppg in 2004-05);
Drake’s Wanda Ford (30.6 ppg in 1985-86) and Julie Fitzpatrick (23.1 ppg in 1984-85); and
Drake’s Wanda Ford (24.2 ppg in 1984-85) and Lorri Bauman (28.2 ppg in 1983-84). 

Should Hackbarth break the 20.0 ppg barrier at season’s end, she and Turk will become the fourth pair of teammates to average better than 20 points a game in back-to-back seasons.

POSSIBILITY OF RARE FEAT
Drake’s Rachael Hackbarth currently leads the league in scoring (19.8), rebounding (11.3) and field-goal percentage (.543), a feat that has only been accomplished once before in league history.

If Hackbarth finishes the season at the top of all three categories, she will join Southern Illinois’ Amy Rakers (20.7 ppg, 10.5 rpg, .574 FG% in 1989-90) in this rare accomplishment.

THE RPI REPORT
For the tenth straight week, the Missouri Valley Conference holds steady at the No. 10 position in the latest (Feb. 20) Collegiate Basketball News RPI Report.  As a league, The Valley hangs onto the 10th-best strength of schedule, matching its best rank of the season.

THREE LEAGUE TEAMS NOW IN TOP 100
Three Valley teams rank in the RPI’s Top 100, led by Missouri State, with a RPI rank of 55. Illinois State (80) and Creighton (96) also represent the MVC among the nation’s top teams in the RPI. Wichita State sits just outside the top 100, as the Shockers check in at No. 101 in this week’s (Feb. 20) report.

HOME COURT ADVANTAGE
Since 2002, home teams have won at least 55 (.611) of the 90 league contests in all but two seasons (2003-04 and 2006-07).  The most wins by home teams in league play came in 2008 (61-29 at home in conference play).  The league was 57-33 (.633) at home in league play last year, and has compiled a 49-23 (.681) mark so far in 2011-12.