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Missouri draws USF in the 2017 NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament

Here are today’s Mizzou Links.

Mizzou Women’s Basketball is heading back to the NCAAs! Robin Pingeton’s Tigers drew a 6-seed in the Stockton (Cal.) region and will play 11-seed USF in Tallahassee. Winner gets the winner of the 3-14 game between Florida State and Western Illinois.

The Trib, Post-DIspatch, KC Star, Missourian, and PowerMizzou have more.

BACK TO THE DANCE! #ShowMe back-to-back NCAA Tournament berths for the first time since 1985 & 1986! #MIZ #OurTownOurTeam

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Here are 5 things you immediately need to know about USF women’s hoops:

  1. Jose Fernandez’s Bulls are 24-8 overall, 24-5 in the “games not against UConn” category. They got absolutely waxed by the Huskies three times but otherwise played a relatively light schedule (hence the 11-seed). They played only two other ranked teams — they lost 66-52 to Louisville in January and 77-71 to Temple in mid-February.
  2. The Bulls made a solid run in the AAC Tournament. As the No. 3 seed, they took down No. 6 SMU (62-55) and No. 2 (and formerly ranked) Temple (63-58) ... which earned them the luxury of getting absolutely waxed by UConn in the finals. But there’s no judging when you get absolutely waxed by UConn.
  3. Fernandez has been running the show in Tampa for a while. The FIU grad used to be a P.E. teacher and ended up an assistant at Barry University in Miami Shores before landing the USF gig in 2000. He went 25-57 his first three years, then picked up steam. From 2004-10, the Bulls went to six WNITs (winning it in 2009) and lost in the first round of the NCAAs in 2006. After a brief stumble, though, he's gotten them into the NCAAs four times in five years. They earned a No. 6 seed last year and lost in the second round to No. 3 UCLA.
  4. USF basically has a seven-player rotation and have started nearly the same five players all year: 5'7 junior point guard Laia Flores, 6'1 senior guard Ariadna Pujol, 6'0 sophomore forward Kitija Laksa, 6'0 junior forward Maria Jespersen, and 6'1 freshman forward Tamara Henshaw.
  5. Laksa's the scorer: She's averaging 19.2 points per game and is hitting 39 percent of her eight 3-point attempts per game. USF takes 20 3s per game as a team and otherwise relies on rebounding (+8.4 per game) and getting to the free throw line (505 free throw attempts to 353) to win games.

The more you know...

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