Wichita State is the favorite, but could Drake or Northern Iowa upset the Shockers?
The 2015 Missouri Valley Conference is going to be held in St. Charles, Mo. at the Family Arena March 12-15. Wichita State Shockers are the heavy favorite to win the whole thing. They’ve won the last two and are looking to become the first team since Missouri State to win more than two in a row. It hasn’t happened in so long, Missouri State was then known as Southwest Missouri State.
Wichita State (26-4, 17-1)
The Shockers are led by Jamilah Bonner and Alex Harden. The two duo combine to average 29.5 points a contest, that’s 46 percent of the scoring for the Shockers. Wichita State has won eight games by more than 20 points this season and have upsets over Kansas State and took the Tennessee Lady Vols to the waning seconds, losing 54-51 on Dec. 16 in Knoxville.
Drake (20-9, 15-3)
As the only team to beat Wichita State this season, Drake has positioned themselves at a chance to win the Missouri Valley this season. Their offense which is the best in conference at 76.3 points per game and 44.7 percent from the floor will be their crutch. However, they’re giving up 69.9 points and that could eventually be their downfall if they cannot defend.
Missouri State (16-13, 13-5)
When three of your five losses are to the top two teams in the conference, you could paint this season as a success, but the Bears want more. They’re led by junior Kenzie Williams and Hillary Chvatal. Those two will be the catalyst to any Bears victory this week. Missouri State is pretty definitive in how they play. They either win big, 10 wins by 10 points or more, or they lose big, nine losses by 10 points or more. They did end the regular season on an 8-game winning streak.
Northern Iowa (16-13, 12-6)
Unlike their men’s team, if the No. Iowa Panthers stun the world and win the Missouri Valley, it would be that, an absolute stunner. They don’t do a lot well or poorly, as they are pretty average across the board according to the statistics. However, Madison Weekly ranks eighth in scoring in the MVC, with 13.9 points. Watch for Alyssa Johnson, the sophomore averages 6.4 rebounds per game.
Illinois State (2-27, 2-16)
Only one team in Division I women’s basketball has more losses than the Redbirds, the Air Force Falcons (2-28) are the culprits. They rank eighth or lower out of the 10 teams, in 15 of the 17 statistical categories. Not to mention, the last in scoring won’t help them win many games. They did steal their final game of the regular season, a 69-54 win over Southern Illinois.
Loyola of Chicago (5-24, 3-15)
Led by Taylor Johnson’s 12.5 points per game, the Ramblers aren’t having much more success than the Redbirds. With their 3-15 conference record, they lost six of their final seven and dropped 15 straight games over the span of four months. They didn’t win a game from Nov. 30 to Feb. 5.