Series: Wright State leads, 1-0
Coaches: Katrina Merriweather is 113-46 in her fifth year at Wright State. She won her third Horizon League coach of the year award this season.
Amaka Agugua-Hamilton went 26-4 in her debut season in 2019-20 and led her team to the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title (the league tourney was cancelled).
The former Michigan State assistant earned numerous honors, including the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association coach of the year. The 26 wins are a school record and also are the most ever in the conference for a first-year coach.
Probable Wright State starters
Name Ht. Class Pos. Avg.
Tyler Frierson 6-4 Sr. C 8.3
Jada Wright 6-3 Jr. C 3.1
Angel Baker 5-8 Jr. G 18.4
Emani Jefferson 5-6 Fr. G 8.3
Jada Roberson 5-7 So. G 7.0
Probable Missouri State starters
Jasmine Franklin 6-1 Jr. F 11.8
Abby Hipp 6-2 Sr. F 9.7
Mya Bhinhar 5-9 Jr. G 3.7
Sydney Wilson 5-11 Jr. G 8.2
Brice Calip 5-8 Sr. G 13.5
About Wright State: Baker has averaged 25.7 points over the last six games. Jefferson, who made the league all-freshman team, has become a reliable sidekick during the win-or-go-home stage of the season, averaging 9.8 points and 6.7 rebounds in the last four games. … The Raiders have been on a rampage since finishing the regular-season with back-to-back home losses to Green Bay. Merriweather said those setbacks helped eliminate some overconfidence: “I think we needed what happened with Green Bay to bounce us back into reality a little bit. I do think it helped refocus us. They’ve been locked in ever since.” … The second-round game should be a defensive struggle. Wright State went into the tournament 16th in the nation in points allowed at 55.4, while Missouri State is 24th at 56.9. The battle of the boards also could be fierce. Both teams are in the top 15 nationally in rebound margin with Wright State at plus-12.3 per game and Missouri State plus-11.1.
About Missouri State: The Lady Bears, who have an 18-game winning streak, have lost only to Wake Forest at a neutral site and South Dakota State at home. They have wins over Maryland and Missouri. Last season, they beat Minnesota, Oklahoma and Missouri … Calip was named conference player of the year. Franklin was picked the defensive player of the year after Calip won it in 2019-20. Both players made the All-MVC first team. … The Bears, ranked 17th in the coaches poll and 20th in the AP Top 25, went 16-0 in the league, winning the title by four games. To make sure they were healthy for the NCAA tourney, they opted out of their MVC semifinal game when their opponent, Bradley, had a positive COVID-19 test. Bradley advanced to the finals and won the tourney. ... Franklin had 17 points and 17 rebounds in the 70-51 first-round win over UC Davis. That’s a program record for rebounds in an NCAA game. … ESPN.com’s Charlie Crème ranked all 64 teams before the tourney and had the Bears 17th and the Raiders 52nd (he’d probably like a mulligan on the latter one).
Next game: Wright State and Missouri State are playing for a spot in the Sweet 16. They’ll face either No. 1 seed Stanford or Oklahoma State in the regional semifinals Saturday.