Looking up at the jumbotron, Missouri women's basketball players cheer

Looking up at the jumbotron, Missouri women’s basketball players cheer as Sophie Cunningham, center, is recognized as one of five finalists for the 2018 Cheryl Miller Award during the Tigers’ NCAA Tournament Selection Show watch party Monday at Mizzou Arena.

The Missouri women’s basketball team is NCAA Tournament-bound for the third consecutive season.

The Tigers earned the No. 5 seed in the Lexington Region and are part of the Stanford subregional. Missouri faces 12th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast at 2:30 p.m. Saturday in Stanford, California, and the game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

Fourth-seeded host Stanford and 13th-seeded Gonzaga round out the subregional, and the two teams face off at approximately 5 p.m. Saturday. The winners from the Missouri-Florida Gulf Coast and Stanford-Gonzaga matchups will play on Monday at a time to be determined.

Here’s a guide to Missouri’s subregion.

Florida Gulf Coast

At a glance

Florida Gulf Coast (30-4, 13-1 Atlantic Sun Conference) is appearing in its fifth NCAA Tournament in its seventh year of postseason eligibility. The Eagles are 1-4 in their previous Tournament appearances.

This season, FGCU won both the ASC regular season and conference tournament championships on the wings of 3-point shooting. The Eagles attempt 34 shots from deep per game — the most in the country — and make 12 — the nation’s second most. No player on FGCU’s roster stands 6-foot or taller.

Player to watch: Redshirt senior guard China Dow

Dow, who transferred to FGCU from Middle Tennessee State after her sophomore year, largely comes off the bench but is the Eagles’ second leading scorer with 11.8 points per game.

The guard has had difficulty staying out of foul trouble — she’s racked up at least four fouls in 11 games, including fouling out of two — yet has the ability to explode on the offensive end. Dow has scored at least 20 points on five different occasions, including a 30-point performance against Lipscomb in which she hit eight 3s.

Notable wins: DePaul (No. 5 seed in Spokane Region), Kentucky

Bad losses: North Florida

Stanford

At a glance

Stanford (22-10, 14-3 Pac-12 Conference) is appearing in its 32nd NCAA Tournament overall and its 31st in a row. The Cardinal have made 13 Final Four appearances and have won two NCAA Tournament Championships — in 1990 and 1992.

Stanford will benefit playing on its home court. The Cardinal are 12-2 at Maples Pavilion, but have struggled away from home. Stanford is 6-5 on the road and 4-3 at neutral sites.

The Cardinal boast seven players 6-foot-1 or taller and block 5.2 shots per game — second most in the Pac-12 and 21st in the nation.

Player to watch: Senior guard Brittany McPhee

McPhee is Stanford’s leading scorer, pouring in 17 points per game on 45 percent shooting. She was named All-Pac-12 by the media and the league’s coaches, as well as being tabbed a third-team All-American by USA Today.

Notable wins: Oregon (No. 2 seed in Spokane Region), UCLA (No. 3 seed in Kansas City Region), Oregon State (No. 6 seed in Lexington Region), Arizona State x2 (No. 7 seed in Kansas City Region)

Bad losses: Western Illinois

Gonzaga

At a glance

Gonzaga (27-5, 17-1 West Coast Conference) is appearing in its 10th NCAA Tournament and its ninth in the last 10 years. The Bulldogs have advanced to four Sweet 16 and one Elite Eight.

Gonzaga breezed through the WCC this season, winning both conference regular season and tournament titles. The Bulldogs rely on their defense, holding their opponents to 37 percent shooting from the floor while producing 9.5 steals per game.

Player to watch: Redshirt junior forward Jill Barta

Barta leads Gonzaga in points (18.8 per game) and rebounds (8.4 per game) while shooting 49 percent from the floor. Most of the Bulldogs’ offense runs through the forward, who attempts four more shots per game than any other player on the roster.

Notable wins: Saint Mary’s

Bad losses: None

Supervising editor is Jack Radetic: sports@columbiamissourian.com, 882-5730.

  • Assistant sports editor. I am a senior at MU studying print and digital sports journalism.

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