Women’s basketball earns No. 6 seed in NCAA Tournament

The Tigers will play South Florida in the first round.
The Missouri bench whips after a teammate hits a free throw during the home game facing Ole Miss at Mizzou Arena on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017.

No. 25 Missouri women’s basketball (21-10) celebrated back-to-back NCAA women’s tournament berths on Monday as the Tigers were selected as a No. 6 seed in the Stockton region. Mizzou’s first-round matchup is Friday against No. 11 seed South Florida (24-8) in Tallahassee, Florida. The game will air live on ESPN2 at 4 p.m.

The Stockton region's No. 1 seed is Southeastern Conference champion South Carolina (27-4), which Mizzou beat 62-60 at home earlier this year, followed by Oregon State (29-4) and Florida State (25-6) to round out the top three seeds.

Mizzou is playing in the Tallahassee subregional, which also includes Miami, Creighton and Western Illinois.

The 11th seed is viewed as low for USF, as the Bulls finished 24-5, excluding three games against No. 1 Connecticut. USF was defeated 100-44 by Connecticut in the American Athletic Conference championship game.

To stop the Bulls, Mizzou needs to key in defensively on sophomore Kitija Laksa and junior Maria Jespersen. Laksa averages 19.2 points per game on 40.5 percent shooting from the field and 39.1 percent shooting from deep. Jespersen averaged 14.8 points per game on 41.3 percent shooting from the field. Their performances landed them both on the All-Conference First Team, and Jespersen also received the conference's Most Improved Player of the Year award.

If Mizzou defeats USF, it would take on the winner of No. 3 seed Florida State and No. 14 seed Western Illinois on Sunday.

Edited by Eli Lederman | elederman@themaneater.com

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