MSSU women hit the road to NCAA DII national tournament

The Lions will face St. Cloud State Friday in Hays, Kansas.

JOPLIN, Mo. – The Missouri Southern women hit the road to the NCAA Division II national tournament Wednesday afternoon.

The Lions are the #4 seed in the central region and will face 5th-seeded St. Cloud State Friday evening at 7:30 PM in Hays, Kansas.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to go to the tournament,” says MSSU senior guard Brooke Stauffer, “I’m just super excited to be able to do this. It’s a great year to be able to go out on, and I’m thankful to have such great teammates with me.”

This season has been a big turnaround for the MSSU program.

After going 9-14 last season, the Lions won an MIAA regular season title this year, put together a 17-game winning streak and are now in the national tournament for the first time since 1996.

“We had a couple missing pieces to our puzzle. Now the puzzle is full. We’ve got everything we need,” Stauffer says of the team’s turnaround, “We truly enjoy being around each other. Having that connection helps on and off the court. I knew one of our very first practices that the energy was different. We were all more bought in than we were before. When we started going on that 17-game winning streak, that’s when it really started to click for everybody. We were like we’re good, and we know we’re good.”

The St. Cloud team they will face on Friday is 23-4 overall this season and ranked #11 in the country.

“They have two guards who are really good. They have a point guard who scores about 14 per game and they have another guard who scores about 12,” says MSSU head coach Ronnie Ressel, “They shoot it well and have good athleticism. They have a big kid who averages about 12 in the post. Defensively, our positioning is going to be huge. Their defense gets out and pressures, similar to what we’ve faced all year. It’s going to be important that we take care of the basketball and that we rebound.”