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December 9 @ 5:00 pm - 7:30 pm






For Immediate Release: Wednesday, May 3, 2023

Brett Esely Contact: 816-233-6688, besely@stjomo.com


As the St. Joseph Sports Commission continues its mission of finding fit and niche of sporting events in our area, a landmark event is set for Saturday, December 9 as the commission will host the inaugural Bill Snyder Basketball Classic which will feature the Kansas State Wildcats against the Missouri Tigers in a marquee, non-conference women’s basketball game on N.S. Hillyard Court at Civic Arena.  Tip time for the game is currently set for 5 PM.


“I’ve always said, St. Joseph is an excellent basketball town that loves tradition and rivalries.  Our community has also established a tremendous footprint in hosting high profile women’s basketball contests whether it be the NCAA Elite Eight, the outstanding success of Missouri Western Women’s Basketball along with two of our high school teams reaching the state Final Four. The opportunity to put a game of this magnitude together between two Power Five schools with heavy local interest was something we had to make happen in which we can’t wait to create an outstanding environment in the arena this winter!” St. Joseph Sports Commission Director Brett Esely stated.


The title of the game further signifies and celebrates the legend of St. Joseph native and College Football Hall of Fame Coach Bill Snyder.  Snyder’s college resume speaks for itself, but the connection to his hometown remains strong as well.  The Bill Snyder Pavilion was named in his honor on the Missouri Western campus in 2017, he was inducted into the St. Joseph Area Sports Hall of Fame in 2021 and for the second straight year, will present the Snyder Woman of Impact Award at the enshrinement ceremonies this August.


“Coach Snyder is one of the more humble people I’ve had the opportunity to engage with, is always so accommodating, his success and legacy speaks for itself and when the concept of this game surfaced, he has been very supportive in not only the opportunity to have his beloved Wildcats play in his hometown, but to take on an opponent like Mizzou and bring attention to the city, is another example of the type of person that he his.” Esely said.


Kansas State, from the Big 12 Conference finished the 2022-23 campaign 19-17 which included a victory over national runner-up Iowa and concluded with advancing to the Sweet 16 round of the WNIT.  They are led by Head Coach Jeff Mittie who has several ties to St. Joseph including being a Missouri Western alum and Hall of Fame coach for the Griffons in leading them to two NCAA Elite Eight appearances in the 1993-95 seasons.  Mittie, who will enter his 10th season at K-State and 33rd season overall as a Head Coach, eclipsed the prestigious 600 win plateau this past season and is the 16th active Division I coach to achieve the milestone.  The Wildcats roster features a name familiar to those in Northwest Missouri as to be junior guard Serena Sundell helps lead the Cats averaging 12 points per game which garnered her Honorable Mention All-Big 12 status.  The Wildcats also anticipate the return of center Ayoka Lee who missed the past season with injury.  Lee was named first-team, All-American by two different outlets in 2021-22 averaging 22 points a game including an NCAA record 61 points scored in a single game during that season.


Mizzou from the SEC finished 2022-23 18-14 overall and advanced to the round of 32 of the WNIT.  Head Coach Robin Pingeton will begin her 14th season in Columbia and 27th overall as a Head Coach.  Her 560 career wins make her just 1 of 16 active Power Five head coaches to achieve 500+ wins and ranks 3rd among SEC coaches.  On the court, the Tigers were led by All-SEC selections senior forward Hayley Frank who was named to the second team averaging 15 points per game and freshman guard Ashton Judd who was a member of the leagues All-Freshman Team.


This will be the 84th all-time meeting between the two schools including the 8th time on a neutral floor with Kansas State holding a 45-38 advantage in the series.  Mizzou holds a three game winning streak in the match-up the most recent of which, a 73-59 victory in Columbia during the 2018-19 season.


“This is a really big deal for St. Joseph and is the first time on record a Division I college basketball game has been played here not to mention the significance of the opponents and the event namesake.  Fans will want to get their tickets early and be a part of this memorable opportunity!” Esely stated.


Ticket information will be released in early summer in which all sales will be facilitated through the Civic Arena Box Office.  Sponsorship opportunities for the event are available by contacting the sports commission.


For more information, visit stjomosports.com.



December 9
5:00 pm - 7:30 pm


St. Joseph Civic Arena
100 N 4th St
St Joseph, MO 64501
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