COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Missouri was hoping to earn a top four seed in the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament, which would have also meant the team would have played its first two games at home.
Instead, the Tigers (24-7) learned Monday night they are the No. 5 seed in the Lexington Regional, and they will play at 2:30 p.m. Saturday against No. 12 seed Florida Gulf Coast (30-4), the Atlantic Sun Conference champion, in Palo Alto, Calif.
Instead of staying at home this weekend, Tigers senior Jordan Frericks will start the final chapter of her playing career on the road.
"We're a little disappointed we couldn't be home, but we're still playing," she said Monday night. "I just had dinner with my parents, and they just got the text of where the hotel is (that the team will stay in Palo Alto). They'll probably be spending their time looking up tickets online when they drive home.
"I'd love to be home and have the fans and the support, but you can't pass up California weather, either."
Frericks, a Quincy Notre Dame graduate, is second on the team in scoring (12.1 ppg) and rebounding (7.5 per game). She received second team All-Southeastern Conference recognition for the third time in her career, and she is just the third Tiger ever to reach 1,000 career points and 1,000 career rebounds.
When asked about the final games of her college career, Frericks said, "I honestly haven't really thought about it. It's not like I try to hide those emotions. I honestly don't think about that because it's kind of distracting. I just focus on the moment, and this is a great opportunity in front of me."
It's the highest seed for Missouri in the NCAA Tournament since it was seeded fourth in 1985, when the event was limited to 32 teams.
The difference between a No. 4 seed and a No. 5 seed is more than just playing on the home court.
No top 4 seed has lost in the first round of the women's Tournament in the last three years, winning all 48 games, and 37 of those top 4 seeds (77 percent) also won their second-round game.
Missouri was ranked No. 17 in the final Associated Press poll, which was released on Monday. It was the team's first top 20 finish since 1984.
Should the Tigers win their first-round game, they would play the winner of No. 4 Stanford (22-10) and No. 13 Gonzaga (27-5) on Monday in Palo Alto.
Frericks admits she doesn't know much about Florida Gulf Coast except that the men's team became the first No. 15 seed in tournament history to reach the Sweet 16.
"We're just grateful for this," she said. "I don't know what goes into the seeding and all of that. It's still been a really great season."