Story by Ashley Beall
Photo by Joel Venzke
Victory. That’s what the Drake women’s basketball team is aiming for this Friday against Illinois State.
After suffering a tough loss to Creighton, the Bulldogs are ready to come out fighting this Friday night.
“It was a game where I felt like we really played hard, and we came together at parts,” said junior forward Morgan Reid. “We’ll build on that and we’ll have more time where we’re playing together and on the same page.”
Even though the result against the Bluejays didn’t favor the Bulldogs, they look at it as a learning experience.
“This game (against Creighton) has helped us learn to play against really good teams because Creighton’s at the top of conference right now,” Reid said. “This was a wake-up call for us, and we just have to have a really good week of practice.”
The Bulldogs are currently 2-7 in conference play while the Redbirds are 5-4. Illinois State lost to Missouri State this past weekend, 91-76.
The Bulldogs will look to shut down the Redbirds’ offense and make sure to prevent the Redbirds’ key player, Jamie Russell, from scoring. Russell has the hot hand for Illinois State, averaging 14.1 points a game, and she recently scored 23 points in their loss to Missouri State this past weekend.
The Bulldogs will look to play calm and collected on Friday.
“We take it one game at a time,” said sophomore guard Kyndal Clark. “One thing we try to do is focus on ourselves first because if we don’t show up it doesn’t matter how much we prepare for the other team, and there are things we can do to prepare for the other team, and we’ll start there.”
Clark is currently leading the Bulldogs in scoring with an average of 14.3 points and Reid is right behind, with an average of 11.3 points.
This will be the second time Drake plays Illinois State this season after losing 71-66 to the Rebirds at the Knapp Center on Jan. 13. The Bulldogs struggled with shutting down Smith, who scored 16 points and senior guard Candace Sykes, who contributed 19 tallies.
In the past, the Bulldogs have struggled with turnovers, allowing their opponents to score with ease. Drake tends to play a game of runs and that has led to its demise in the last few minutes of each game.
In order for the Bulldogs to come out on top, they’ll have to work on playing an up-tempo game. When the Bulldogs have been victorious in the past, it’s when they are composed and play together. With a tough game ahead of them, the Bulldogs will need to shake off this past loss to Creighton and come out with a clean slate ready to fight.
Drake will take on Illinois State on Friday night at 8 p.m. in Normal, Ill.