Missouri State women are first No. 3 seed to win MVC tourney
MOLINE, Ill. (AP) Tyonna Snow recorded her second straight double-double with 17 points and a career-high 15 rebounds and No. 3 seed Missouri State won its 10th Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in 15 trips with a 71-58 victory over top-seeded Northern Iowa on Sunday to advance to the NCAA Tournament.
Missouri State (24-9) won its first title since 2006 - for its 14th appearance in the NCAAs.
Snow won the MVP after scoring 52 points and grabbing 34 rebounds in their three tournament wins.
''She played like the player of the year,'' Missouri State coach Kellie Harper said of Snow. ''She has been so consistent and she really bought in from day one. I'm proud of her - she's carried our team.''
Liza Fruendt made three 3-pointers and added 16 points for Missouri State.
It was the first time in conference history that a third-seeded team won the championship.
''It's surreal,'' Snow said. ''I was at state four times in high school and I've never been a champion. To be a champion with these girls is amazing.''
Regular-season MVC champion Northern Iowa (22-10) was led by Madison Weekly with 17 points and Sharnae Lamar's 16. They were both named to the all-tournament team. The Panthers made just 3 of 19 from distance and were outrebounded 40-22.
Kenzie Williams' 3-point play with 2:51 remaining in the first half extended Missouri State's lead to 35-22. But the Lady Bears did not make their next field goal until the 6:51 mark of the third quarter. They still led 39-31.
Northern Iowa closed the first half on a 6-0 run to pull to 35-28.
Lexi Hughes hit a 3-pointer from the corner with 22 seconds left in the third quarter for a 51-40 Missouri State lead and Fruendt made an open 3 to extend it to 64-46.
Missouri State: The Lady Bears are 42-19 all-time at the MVC Tournament. ... The two teams split the regular season series with each winning on the road in close games. ... UNI entered on a 10-game win streak, with MSU handing them their last defeat on Feb. 5.
Northern Iowa: The last time the two teams met in the MVC Tournament, UNI beat the Lady Bears 69-41 in the 2010-11 championship game for its second straight tournament title. ... UNI won the regular season title with a 61-48 win over Evansville. ... UNI's 15 conference wins ranks second in program history.
Missouri State: NCAA Tournament.
Northern Iowa: Women's NIT.