02.27.21 LadyBearsvLoyola Brice

Senior Brice Calip intensely watches the shot clock during the Lady Bears’ game against Loyola Chicago Saturday, Feb. 27 at JQH Arena. The Bears beat the Ramblers 64-50.

The Missouri State Lady Bears’ semifinal matchup against the Bradley Braves is canceled due to COVID-19 concerns. 

The announcement came via the Missouri Valley Conference’s Twitter account Saturday, March 13 at 12:30 p.m. —  approximately 30 minutes prior to the game’s scheduled tipoff. 

According to a Missouri State Athletics Communications press release, one positive COVID-19 result was discovered in Bradley’s Tier 1 personnel as part of Friday’s testing. Each MVC program is required to undergo COVID-19 testing for the week of the MVC Women’s Basketball Tournament.

“Our top priority is to be able to play in the NCAA Tournament,” Missouri State Director of Athletics Kyle Moats said in a press release. “Our players lost that opportunity last year with the pandemic and the cancellation of the postseason. We have to ensure that our players and our staff get that opportunity this year.”

Despite MSU’s departure from the tournament, having been regular season MVC champions and holding an NCAA Net-Power Ranking of 20, the Lady Bears’ season is all but certain to continue with a birth in the Women’s NCAA Tournament. 

“This feels a lot like last year,” head coach Amaka “Mox” Agugua-Hamilton said. “It’s very unfortunate but playing in the NCAA Tournament is a priority for us, especially after missing the opportunity last season. Although we will miss out on what could have potentially happened for us in Moline, we look forward to the Big Dance!”

Looking forward, the Lady Bears will await the Women’s NCAA Tournament selection show, scheduled for Monday, March 15.

Follow Noah Tucker on Twitter, noahtucker04

Subscribe to The Standard's free weekly newsletter here.