Story by Ashley Beall
Photo by Joel Venzke
Redemption. That’s what the Bulldogs are looking for as they take on Wichita State tonight at 7:05 p.m. at the Knapp Center. Following two tough losses this past weekend against Illinois State and Indiana State, the Bulldogs are ready to fight.
“We’ve got to keep our heads up and keep fighting,” said redshirt sophomore Carly Grenfell. “This hasn’t been the season we’ve all had in mind but it’s just making us better and mentally stronger. We’re going to take all the mistakes we’ve learned from those (the past two) games and fix them for Wichita State.”
The last time Drake faced Wichita State, the Shockers dealt the Bulldogs a 70-51 loss.
“This time around we’ll be ready for their athleticism, they started off really hot in their home court and that set us back on our heels a little bit,” Grenfell said. “The biggest thing is if they go on their runs we have to be ready for them, we can’t back down.”
Wichita State owns a 10-1 record Valley play, ranking No. 1. The Shockers suffered their first loss this past Sunday against Bradley, 75-55. Though the Shockers top the MVC, the Bulldogs remain optimistic entering tonight’s game.
“They’re a good team but their record shouldn’t define them,” said freshman Ashley Bartow.
Bartow has stepped up these past few games, scoring a career-high 17 points versus Illinois State.
Jessica Diamond leads the Shockers in scoring, averaging 12.9 points per game. Diamond will play a key factor in tonight’s game. Drake has to contain Diamond to topple the Shockers.
The Bulldogs look to protect the basketball against Wichita State, a task they have struggled with throughout the season.
“We need to get off to a better start. The last two games we haven’t been starting well and if we start well against Wichita (State), we’ll be with them the whole game,” Bartow said. “We’ve always played well in the second half. We just need to carry that over to the first half.”
Sophomore Kyndal Clark had the hot hand this past weekend, scoring 20 points against Indiana State. Clark was quiet against Illinois State and only scored four points. Clark is a key Drake player and will play a pivotal role against a dangerous Wichita State squad tonight.
“If we beat them (Wichita State) that’d be huge,” Grenfell said. “They just had their first loss so we can punch them when they’re down.”