DANCING AGAIN: Lady Bears win Missouri Valley Tournament, earning NCAA bid

MOLINE, Ill. -- The Lady Bears are dancing again.

Stoutland High School graduate Alexa Willard scored a game-high 30 points to lead Missouri State to a 94-79 victory over Drake in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament in Moline, Ill. Sunday. The Lady Bears earned the conference’s automatic berth to the women’s NCAA Tournament.

The Lady Bears jumped out to a 42-35 lead at halftime over the Lady Bulldogs. Then, the hot-shooting Lady Bears controlled the game. Missouri State outscored Drake 26-12 in the third-quarter. The Lady Bears survived a late fourth-quarter surge by the Bulldogs.

The two schools split the regular-season with each winning on the opponent’s home court.

This is the first NCAA Tournament for the Lady Bears since the 2015-2016 season. The NCAA will announce the field of 64 Monday evening.