by Missouri State Athletics
For the first time in a quarter century, Missouri State has the Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year in women’s basketball after Kellie Harper was announced as the 2019 winner of the award Thursday evening during a ceremony between the opening round games of the MVC Tournament.
The Lady Bears posted their fifth straight top three MVC finish this season, going 16-2 in the league for their best conference record since 2004.
After a 1-7 start to the year, Missouri State has won 19 of its last 21 games, doing so with a rotation that includes only one senior and one junior. MSU went 9-0 in MVC road games for the first time in school history, and has reached 20 wins for the third time in the last four seasons.
Missouri State won 13 consecutive games from Dec. 20-Feb. 8, the second-longest winning streak in the country when it ended. This year’s team has played a part in several additional historic win streaks, including 17 consecutive MVC wins, 13 straight Valley home wins, 11 conference road wins in a row, and nine straight overall road wins. The final two streaks on that list are school records.
Harper is MSU’s first MVC Coach of the Year since Cheryl Burnett in 1994.
The Lady Bears (20-9, 16-2) are the No. 2 seed at the MVC Tournament, and open play on Friday at 6 p.m. against the winner of Thursday’s game between No. 7 Loyola and 10th-seeded Evansville.