#25 Missouri State Women's Basketball 2020-2021 Preview

Missouri State Bears
Overall Rank: #25
Conference Rank: #1 Missouri Valley
 Missouri State Logo
Coming off a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2019, the expectations were immediately high for first year coach Amak Agugua-Hamilton. The Bears certainly lived up to those expectations, going 26-4 overall and 16-2 in conference play. Those two non-conference losses came against ranked opponents Oregon State and Gonzaga. Top scorer Alexa Willard is gone, but Missouri returns every other player who averaged double digit minutes last year and that will keep them as the clear team to beat in the Missouri Valley.
2019-20 Record: 26-4, 16-2
Coach: Amaka Agugua-Hamilton
Coach Record: 26-4 at Missouri State, 26-4 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Alexa Willard, Guard, 16.1 ppg
Shameke Ealy, Forward, 3.3 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Brice Calip, Senior, Guard, 12.6 ppg
Jasmine Franklin, Junior, Forward, 10.9 ppg
Abby Hipp, Senior, Forward, 6.7 ppg
Emily Gartner, Senior, Center, 6.5 ppg
Elle Ruffridge, Senior, Guard, 6.4 ppg
Sydney Wilson, Junior, Guard, 5.5 ppg
Mya Bhinhar, Junior, Guard, 4.8 ppg
Sydney Manning, Junior, Guard, 3.9 ppg
Trinity Knapp, Sophomore, Forward, 2.7 ppg
Key New Players
Abi Jackson, Senior, Forward, Transfer from Auburn
Paige Rocca, Freshman, Guard
Dani Winslow, Freshman, Forward
Brice Calip is the team’s top returning scorer, averaging 12.6 points per game last year. The senior point guard also dished out 3.8 assists per game. Calip is not the most prolific or efficient three-point shooter, but she will make the opposition pay if they give her too much space. The team’s main shooter this year will be Elle Ruffridge. She hit 43.7 percent of her attempts from long range and should step into Willard’s old starting spot. Sydney Wilson and Mya Bhinhar were part-time starters as sophomores and are more than ready to play more minutes as upperclassmen. While the backcourt is talented, it is the frontcourt that really propels the Bears towards the top 25. Jasmine Franklin was the most productive last season, tallying 10.9 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.1 blocks. She shot an impressive 56.3 percent from the floor. Abby Hipp was not too far behind, hitting 54.2 percent of her shots from the floor. Like Franklin, senior center Emily Gartner is an imposing presence in the paint on both ends of the court. As if that was not enough, Abi Jackson is eligible after transferring in from Auburn. She was not much of a scorer during her time with the Tigers, but she is a proven defender and will get more of an opportunity to show what she can do on the offensive end with Missouri State. Overall this is a team full of talent and it would be a surprise if they lost more than a couple conference games. The bigger games will come in March and another trip to the Sweet Sixteen is a very reasonable goal.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 77.7 (17th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Scoring Defense: 65.0 (190, 6)
Field-Goal Percentage: 44.2 (32, 2)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.4 (265, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.0 (162, 8)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.8 (15, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 76.5 (22, 4)
Rebound Margin: 9.3 (11, 1)
Assists Per Game: 14.6 (73, 3)
Turnovers Per Game: 14.4 (85, 1)