Women's Basketball Weekly Notebook (Feb. 28)
Tuesday, February 28, 2012

LADY BEARS CLINCH SHARE OF MVC TITLE
Missouri State clinched at least a share of its first Missouri Valley Conference regular-season championship since 2005 with an 80-76 OT victory over second-place Illinois State. Missouri State sits two games ahead of the Redbirds and Wichita State with two games to play, and can clinch the regular-season title outright with at least one victory this weekend.

CREAM OF THE CROP
Missouri State (13-3 MVC) has won at least 12 conference games for a third-straight season. The Lady Bears hold the league record for the most consecutive 12+wins seasons - 13 - from 1990-2002, while Southern Illinois had a streak of 10-straight 12+ win seasons from 1984-1993.

Illinois State (11-5 MVC) is another perennial power at the top of the league standings.  The Redbirds have an active streak of winning 13+ Valley games in five consecutive seasons, and will look to extend that streak to six seasons with at least one win this weekend.

Creighton (11-6 MVC) has won at least 12 conference games for a fourth-straight season, and will look to extend that streak to five with a victory over Drake this weekend.

THIS WEEK'S MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
Thursday, March 1  Saturday, March 3
*ILS @ UE, 7 PM *INS @ UE, 1 PM
 *BU @ WSU, 7:05 PM *CU @ DU, 2:05 PM
 *INS @ SIU, 7:05 PM *ILS @ SIU, 2:05 PM
 *UNI @ MSU, 7:05 PM *UNI @ WSU, 2:05 PM
  *BU @ MSU, 7:05 PM

STREAK FOR THE CASH
Missouri State is currently riding a 10-game hot streak, its best of the season, with just one week remaining in the conference season.  Below is a list of the longest winning streaks of the season. 

2011-12 Longest Winning Streaks
Missouri State 10 (J21 – present)
Wichita State 10 (D9 – J21)
Creighton 5 (F11 – present)
Bradley 5 (N30 – D21)
Drake 4 (D1 – D18)
Indiana State 4 (D30 – J12)
Illinois State 3, three times (N26 – D2; J20 – J27; F3 – F12)
UNI 3, three times (N25 – D1; D31 – J7; J29 – F4)

STRICTLY STREAKING
Missouri State’s 10-game winning streak is the nation’s 11th-best active winning streak, joining the ranks of some very elite company.

NCAA DI WBB Current Active Winning Streaks
29 - Baylor
23 - Stanford
18 - Middle Tennessee State
18 - Florida Gulf Coast
16 - St. Bonaventure
15 - Princeton
14 - American
13 - Temple
12 - Tennessee-Martin
10 - Missouri State

FIRST TO 20
Missouri State became the first Valley women’s basketball team to reach the 20-win plateau this season.  For the 15th time in program history (since the 1982-83 season), Missouri State has won at least 20 games, including a streak of six straight (1991-92 - 1995-96), four straight (1998-99 - 2001-02), and now three straight (2009-10 - 2011-12).   

ON THE VERGE
Wichita State (17-10), Creighton (17-10) and Illinois State (16-11) are all on the verge of breaking the 20-win plateau this season.  The Redbirds have an active 20-win season streak dating back to 2006-07, while the Shockers are looking for their first 20-win season since 2000-01. The Bluejays are looking for their 14th 20-win season since 1982-83.

HISTORY OF 20-WIN SEASONS
The Valley record for consecutive 20-win seasons is six, held by both Drake (1996-97 - 2001 -02) and Missouri State (1990-91 - 1995-96).  Drake and Southern Illinois both had five 20-win seasons in a row (DU, 1981-82 - 1985-86; SIU, 1982-83 - 1986-87), while Creighton, Illinois State and Missouri State and have had 20-win seasons in four consecutive years (CU, 1990-91 - 1993-94; ILS, 2006-07 - 2009-10; MSU, 1997-98 - 2000-01). 

Active 20-Win Streaks in The Valley
5 - Illinois State (2006-07 - 2010-11)
3 - Missouri State (2009-10 - 2011-12)
1 - UNI (2010-11)

SPEAKING OF 20 WINS
Since the start of the 1992-93 season only two 20-win MVC teams have been left out of the postseason.  In that time, 39 of 41 20-win Valley teams have advanced to the postseason.  Last season UNI, Missouri State and Illinois State each earned postseason bids after winning at least 20 games.

SEVEN OF 10 AT .500
Currently, seven of ten Valley women’s basketball teams boast overall records at or above .500, with Indiana State also sitting just two games under .500 (13-15).  If these eight teams can finish out the season with at least .500 records, it will be the second time in league history for eight teams to accomplish this feat (2009-10).

Previously, seven teams have finished the season .500 or better on five occasions -- 1998-99 (7 winning records), 1996-97 (6 winning, 1 at .500), 1993-94 (6 winning, 1 at .500), 2009-10 (7 winning, 1 at .500) and 2010-11 (5 winning, 2 at .500).

No other conference with 10 or fewer members can make that claim.  In fact, only eight other conferences have more teams with at or above .500 records, while also having more member institutions.

% of Teams At  Conference or Above .500  
Big 12 (8-of-10) .800
Big East (12-of-16) .750
Pac-12 (9-of-12) .750 
Missouri Valley (7-of-10) .700
ACC (8-of-12) .667
SEC (8-of-12) .667
Colonial (8-of-12) .667
Big Ten (7-of-12) .583
Atlantic 10 (7-of-14) .500

THE RPI REPORT
For the 11th straight week, the Missouri Valley Conference holds steady at the No. 10 position in the latest (Feb. 27) 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 TEAMS RANKED IN TOP 100
Three Valley teams rank in the RPI’s Top 100, led by Missouri State, with a season-best RPI rank of 44. Creighton (79) and Illinois State (92) also represent the MVC among the nation’s top teams in the RPI.

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 53-28 (.654) mark so far in 2011-12.

MVC TOURNAMENT SCENARIOS
Dozens of possible seeding scenarios for the State Farm MVC Tournament could be played out during the final weekend of conference play. Here’s a look at what COULD happen with SPECIFIC results simulated and what we know for sure heading into the final weekend.

There are several other game results possibilities and the following listings are not all-inclusive, just selected Thursday results scenarios. More definite seeding scenarios will be available after Thursday’s games.

CERTAINTIES:
Missouri State will be the No. 1 seed with at least one win this weekend;
Wichita State and Illinois State can finish with as many as 13 wins and as few as 11 wins;
Creighton can finish with as many as 12 wins and as few as 11 wins;
UNI can finish with as many as 11 wins and as few as 9 wins;
Drake and Indiana State can finish with as many as 9 wins and as few as 8 wins;
Bradley can finish with as many as 7 wins and as few as 5 wins;
Southern Illinois can finish with as many as 6 wins and as few as 4 wins;
Evansville will be the No. 10 seed.

If HOME Teams Win on Thursday - Below are the possible seeds if all of the home teams (DU, UE, MSU, SIU, WSU) win on Thursday, March 1.

1. Missouri State
2. Wichita State
3. Illinois State/Creighton
4. Illinois State/Creighton
5. UNI
6. Drake
7. Indiana State
8. Bradley/Southern Illinois
9. Bradley/Southern Illinois
10. Evansville

If ROAD Teams Win on Thursday - Below are the possible seeds if all of the road teams (BU, CU, ILS, INS, UNI) win on Thursday, March 1.

1. Missouri State
2. Illinois State
3. Wichita State/Creighton
4. Wichita State/Creighton
5. UNI
6. Drake/Indiana State
7. Drake/Indiana State
8. Bradley
9. Southern Illinois
10. Evansville

If Teams currently HIGHER in MVC standings Win on Thursday - Below are the possible seeds if all of the home teams (ILS, INS, MSU, WSU) win on Thursday, March 1. 

1. Missouri State
2. Wichita State/Illinois State
3. Wichita State/Illinois State
4. Creighton
5. UNI
6. Drake/Indiana State
7. Drake/Indiana State
8. Bradley
9. Southern Illinois
10. Evansville

If Teams currently LOWER in MVC standings Win on Thursday - Below are the possible seeds if all of the home teams (BU, UE, UNI, SIU) win on Thursday, March 1. 

1. Missouri State
2. Wichita State/Illinois State/Creighton
3. Wichita State/Illinois State/Creighton
4. Wichita State/Illinois State/Creighton
5. UNI
6. Drake
7. Indiana State
8. Bradley
9. Southern Illinois
10. Evansville

TOP-THREE TEAM HIGHLIGHTS
Missouri State (20-6, 13-3 MVC)
 • Winners of 16 of last 19 games
 • Currently on a 10-game winning streak
 • 16 double-digit victories (most in MVC)
 • Season-best RPI of 44 in latest CBN rankings (Feb. 27)
 • Only MVC team with top-70 RPI rank each week
 • 11-1 home record (one of 38 DI teams with one or fewer losses)
 • Four wins against top-100 teams (most in MVC)
 • Nine road/neutral wins (most in MVC)
 • No. 10 in CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll
 • 17-1 this season when scoring at least 70 points
 • 15-1 when shooting 40 percent or better
 • +9.0 scoring margin (best in MVC)

Wichita State (17-11, 11-5 MVC)
 • Allowing just 58.6 ppg (second in MVC)
 • Eight road/neutral wins (second 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. 23 in CollegeInsider.com Mid-Major Top 25 poll
 • Lead league with .442 FG %
 • Second in league with .391 FG % Defense

Illinois State (16-11, 11-5 MVC)

 • Winners of eight of last 11 games
 • 11 double-digit victories (T-3rd in MVC)
 • No. 2 in nation in three-point FG % (38.7)

20 SOMETHING
Drake’s Rachael Hackbarth currently leads the league in scoring at 19.7 points per game, one season after former Bulldog Kristin Turk led the league in scoring at 20.0 ppg.

Just three times in MVC history has the league featured two teammates that averaged 20.0 ppg 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 20.0 ppg in back-to-back seasons.

POSSIBILITY OF RARE FEAT
Drake’s Rachael Hackbarth currently leads the league in scoring (19.7), rebounding (11.5) 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.

WINNING AT THE HALFWAY POINT
Over the past 12 seasons, teams that have won or shared the regular-season championship in the MVC have reached the half-way point of the league season with at least 8 wins 12 times (15 total teams). Three times – DU in 2008, CU in 2003 and MSU in 1999 – teams have had as many as three losses and gone on to the regular-season title.

TITLE TOWN
The league has had nine different regular-season champions in the past nine seasons (CU/ILS-2003, MSU-2004, MSU-2005, INS-2006, SIU-2007, DU/UE/ILS-2008, ILS-2009, ILS-2010, UNI-2011).

15 IS ALMOST ALWAYS ENOUGH
In 27 conference seasons, MVC regular-season champions have won at least 15 conference games 19 times.  No team has finished the Valley regular-season with 15 wins and finished lower than second-place.   Just two second place 15-win teams have finished more than one game behind the league winner.

The 1985-86 Drake teams finished 16-2 behind an undefeated Southern Illinois team and the 1991-92 Southern Illinois team finished 15-3 behind a 17-1 Missouri State team that went on the play in the Final Four.