Story by Ashley Beall
The Drake women’s basketball team traveled to Seattle this past Thanksgiving break to participate in the Delta Dental Thanksgiving Tournament and went 1-1.
The Bulldogs first faced Cornell at the Connelly Center at Seattle University and lost 59-49. Drake struggled to come together and only shot 36 percent.
“It was something during the game that we couldn’t identify, and we could just feel that there was something missing,” said junior guard Kyndal Clark. “After the game, I was talking to some of the girls, and the game felt weird. It wasn’t us. It wasn’t Drake basketball. We didn’t have that fire. We didn’t have that fight.”
The Bulldogs weren’t able to maintain a strong offense throughout the game. Clark had 12 points, while junior Liza Heap had 10 points and eight rebounds. Redshirt junior Carly Grenfell came off the bench and scored nine points.
Drake struggled throughout the first half but closed the gap to three points just before halftime, 28-25.
Going into the second half, both teams heavily relied on 3-pointers to carry them over one another.
Drake was able to hold Cornell to 35.2 percent from the floor.
After facing the loss, the Bulldogs had to reset and get ready to face Coastal Carolina in the consolation game of the tournament.
“We really wanted to focus on being the team attacking,” Clark said.
“In the Cornell game, they definitely came out, and they were the ones that threw the first punch, and that’s something that we talk a lot about, throwing the first punch in the first four minutes because that’s going to set the tone. Usually the team that does that (is) going to be in control for the game and basketball is an aggressive game, and you have to come out and be the aggressive team.”
Compared to the first game of the tournament, the Bulldogs were a completely different team with its best shooting performance of the season and beat Coastal Carolina 90-74.
“We found that fight in the second game. We found that fire. We found what bonded us. We found the passion and the fun,” Clark said. “If you could have two polar opposite games, we had them. We’re trying to capture what we had in that second game to carry on into the rest of the season.”
Clark led the team with 19 points. Sophomore Ashley Bartow had a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds, while freshman Lizzy Wendell had 13 points and six rebounds. The Bulldogs never lost the lead against the Chanticleers and at one point during the second half led by 24 points.
The Bulldogs came strong off the bench with freshman Caitlin Ingle scoring 14 points and sophomore Emma Donahue scored 10 points. Drake also had a strong offense with a season-best 25 assists.
“We had a lot of adversity while we were at the tournament and a different environment since we were there over Thanksgiving,” Clark said. “It showed us that you know what we didn’t show up at the first game, but we can come back and show up in the second game and really dominate, and I think that was a good lesson for us. But, hopefully, we’ll capture what we did in the second game and be able to put two games together.”
Drake next faces Idaho State tonight in the Knapp Center at 7:05 p.m.