SPRINGFIELD, MO–Missouri State coach Beth Cunningham will experience her first Hoops in the Heartland starting Thursday afternoon.

The Lady Bears are the fifth seed.

But Missouri State will limp into Moline on a losing skid.

The Lady Bears lost at both Drake and Northern Iowa to wrap up the regular season.

Both of those teams avenged losses suffered in Springfield.

MSU finished the year with a 19-10 record, 14-6 in the conference.

Illinois State and Belmont were co-champions of the regular season, the first time that’s happened in the Valley in nine years.

Lady Bear guard Paige Rocca says there’s time to recharge before the post-season tournament.

“The tournament’s always fun. Anything can happen. It’s just an extra game for us to play with Sydney Wilson and Aniya Thomas so we’re looking at it like that. We never, never overlook another team. We always take it one game at a time. It’s always nice to prove people wrong, but I think more importantly we’re just trying to prove ourselves right and prove the people who support us right,” said Rocca.

So the Lady Bears are the fifth seed and they’ll square off with the 12th seed Bradley.

That game is at 2:30p.m. Thursday afternoon and the winner advances to play Drake in the quarterfinals.

The Lady Bears swept the season series against Bradley, winning 87-54 here in January, and by ten at their place in February.