ST. LOUIS – Missouri State, which clinched the Missouri Valley Conference women's basketball regular-season title for the first time since 2005, has earned the No. 1 seed in the State Farm MVC Tournament. The Lady Bears finished with a regular-season record of 21-7, including a 14-4 mark in league play, closing out the season by winning 11 of their last 12 games.
Illinois State (13-5 MVC), Wichita State (12-6 MVC) and Creighton (11-7 MVC) round out the league's top four seeds.
UNI, Indiana State and Drake all wrapped up conference play with an even 9-9 record. Following the league’s tiebreaking procedures, the Panthers earned the No. 5 seed, followed by the Sycamores as the No. 6 seed and the Bulldogs as the No. 7 seed.
This year's tournament - the fifth neutral-site event in the conference's history - begins on Thursday, March 8, at The Family Arena in St. Charles. Mo. The top seed has won the conference tournament in 15 of 26 seasons and a team that has won or shared the regular-season title has gone on to win the tournament title 17 times. UNI won the 2011 championship from the top seed, earning its second consecutive NCAA Tournament berth in program history, topping Missouri State in the title game.
The tournament, which features nine games over four days, culminates on Sunday, March 11, with a nationally televised game on FS Midwest as part of the MVC Television Network at 2:00 p.m. CST. Both semifinals will also air on the MVC Television Network at 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. CST on Saturday, March 10.
The opening round games on Thursday evening, as well as the four quarterfinal games on Friday will be shown live online, free of charge, as part of the Valley's video-streaming package on the league's website. Log on to www.mvc-sports.com for more details.
Missouri State has won the most MVC Tournament titles, nine, of any Valley school, its last coming in 2006. Drake has claimed five tournament titles. Illinois State won the league's first tournament title in 1983. Last season, No. 1 seed UNI defended its tournament title for the first time since 2004 when Missouri State repeated on its home floor.
2012 STATE FARM MISSOURI VALLEY CONFERENCE WOMEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT
Thursday, March 8 -- Session I
Game 1 -- #8 Bradley (16-14, 7-11) vs. #9 Southern Illinois (8-21, 4-14), 4 p.m. [MVC Live]
Game 2 -- #7 Drake (15-14, 9-9) vs. #10 Evansville (5-24, 2-16), 7 p.m. [MVC Live]
Friday, March 9 -- Session II
Game 3 -- #1 Missouri State (21-7, 14-4) vs. Winner Game 1, 12 p.m. [MVC Live]
Game 4 -- #4 Creighton (17-12, 11-7) vs. #5 UNI (16-13, 9-9), 2:30 p.m. [MVC Live]
Friday, March 9 -- Session III
Game 5 -- #2 Illinois State (18-11, 13-5) vs. Winner of Game 2, 6 p.m. [MVC Live]
Game 6 -- #3 Wichita State (18-11, 12-6) vs. #6 Indiana State (15-15, 9-9), 8:30 p.m. [MVC Live]
Saturday, March 10 -- Session IV
Game 7 -- Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 1:30 p.m. [MVC TV Network]
Game 8 -- Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6, 4 p.m. [MVC TV Network]
Sunday, March 11 -- Session V
Championship -- Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8, 2 p.m. [MVC TV Network]