SPRINGFIELD – Missouri State basketball fans will have their first chance of the season to catch the Bears and Lady Bears in action Saturday afternoon when the teams host a sneak preview event at Hammons Student Center beginning at 1 p.m.
The free event is open to the public and will feature the Bears and Lady Bears each conducting intrasquad scrimmages and preseason drills. Doors open at 12:30 p.m., and masks and social distancing will be required inside Hammons Student Center, which has a current capacity of 1,325 for athletic events.
The Lady Bears of second-year head coach Amaka Agugua-Hamilton are the preseason Missouri Valley Conference favorite as they return 10 players and four starters from last season’s club that went 26-4 overall and 16-2 in league play as the outright regular season champions. MSU ended the year ranked 19th in the USA Today Coaches Poll, 23rd by the Associated Press and eighth in the NCAA RPI. Senior guard Brice Calip and junior forward Jasmine Franklin are preseason All-MVC selections.
Dana Ford’s Bears have a new-look team with just three letterwinners returning from last year. Gaige Prim (13.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game) was the MVC’s top scoring newcomer a year ago and was an All-MVC third-teamer last season. He’s joined by fellow returning lettermen Isiaih Mosley and Ja’Monta Black. Mosley started 10 games in 2019-20 — all in league play — and averaged 10.4 points per game against Valley foes.
Non-conference schedules for both teams are nearing completion after the NCAA recently announced a Nov. 25 season start date for college basketball. Along with the later start date, the Division I Council reduced the number of allowable games by four and eliminated all exhibition contests for 2020-21. The Bears begin MVC play Dec. 30 at UNI, and the Lady Bears open defense of their Valley title on New Year’s Day at Evansville.
Season ticket information will be available once the entire schedule is finalized. Initial inquiries can be directed to Duane Miller by phone at (417) 836-8899 or email at DuaneMiller@MissouriState.edu.