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story.lead_photo.caption Lindsey Byers drives for a basket during a game last season against Strafford at Fleming Fieldhouse. Photo by News Tribune / News Tribune.

It didn't take very long for Lindsey Byers to make her decision earlier this year.

"When they offered me in May, it was immediate that it was the right place," Byers said Tuesday after the Lady Crusader senior guard signed with Missouri State in the Helias library. "I knew in my heart that's where I wanted to go.

"I was looking at a lot of great schools and great programs, but when it came down to it, I knew I wanted to go to Missouri State."

Byers has strong family ties to the Springfield school.

"Ever since I was a little kid, we've been huge Missouri State fans," Byers said. "My dad went there and I have a bunch of siblings there."

Missouri State is glad to have her.

"Lindsey is a very underrated combo guard with a high basketball IQ," Missouri State coach Amaka Agugua-Hamilton said in a release by the university. "She is a great facilitator who understands when a big shot needs to be taken. She is not scared of the moment and can stretch the floor with her 3-point shot or rip and drive and finish through contact."

The Lady Bears run an up-tempo offense that Byers believes suits her game.

"They think I will fit into their offense really well, I think I will fit perfectly," she said. "They like to run and go fast and I think that's one of my strengths."

Agugua-Hamilton also likes what she sees from Byers on the defensive end of the floor.

"She has great length which allows her to play angles well on the defensive end," she said. "I am thrilled to have her as she is a high character student-athlete who definitely has a bright future here."

Helias first-year head coach Garrett Wiggans was Byers' coach on the Lady Crusaders' freshman team.

"Missouri State is a very, very good program that has shown in recent years it can compete at the national level," Wiggans said. "I'm thrilled Lindsey is going to get that opportunity."

Byers averaged 14.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 3.1 steals per game as a junior. The Lady Crusaders won their first district title since 2016, finishing with a record of 15-13. Byers, one of two seniors on the team, is looking to do better this season.

"Our goal is go further than we did last year," she said. "I have a lot of confidence in the team, we're young, but we have a lot of very good players."

Byers is one of three members of Missouri State's recruiting class, joining fellow guards Isabelle Delarue of Francis Howell Central and Taylor Woodhouse from Southaven, Miss.

Missouri State is ranked No. 24 in the Associated Press preseason poll. The Lady Bears were 26-4 last season, winning the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title, and finished No. 23 in the final AP poll.

Byers is the first Lady Crusader basketball player to sign with an NCAA Division I school since Olivia Hackmann signed with Southeast Missouri State in 2012.

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