When the Southwest Missouri State Lady Bears defeated the Duke Blue Devils on this day in 2001, it was one of the biggest upsets in the history of Missouri sports. 

The stunning victory meant the Lady Bears would continue their run to the Final Four. Shooting guard Jackie Stiles established Southwest Missouri State (now Missouri State University) basketball as one of the premiere women’s programs in the country. The hardwood highness was the all-time leading scorer in Division I women’s basketball from 2001-2017. 

The Women’s Final Four that year was played at the Kiel Center in St. Louis, so it was a chance for Stiles to be in the national spotlight in front of home-state fans. But in the National Semifinal, the Purdue Boilermakers beat the Lady Bears 81-64, ending the season and Stiles’s amazing collegiate career .

Stiles would become the first Missouri State player ever to be drafted by a WNBA franchise. She was the Portland Fire’s first-round (No. 4) draft pick. She played for the Los Angeles Sparks in 2002, as well as professionally in Australia before retiring in 2006. 

Stiles would go on to help coach at her Alma Mater, and was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.

Based upon content from the book Missouri 365: This Day in Missouri History by John W. Brown, broadcaster and Missouri historian. Get your copy at Reedy Press.

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