Drake concludes undefeated road trip at SIU

Story by Austin Cannon

Photo by Joel Venzke

wbball1-w2000-h2000The Drake women’s basketball team collected a pair of victories to even its record to 11-11 this week.

On Thursday, the Bulldogs defeated the Evansville Purple Aces, 72-57. Drake rolled to an 80-55 win at Southern Illinois on Saturday.

It was their fourth straight win, upping the Bulldogs’ conference record to 5-6.

At Evansville, Drake shot over 51 percent. Its 14 3-pointers, 10 of which were in the first half, were only three short of the school record 17 it hit against Bradley on Jan. 26.

“We played inspired tonight from the very beginning,” said Drake head coach Jennie Baranczyk in a Drake athletics press release. “I was very proud of our overall effort. I think we moved the ball really well.”

Freshman Lizzy Wendell continued her impressive stretch, scoring 28 points on 10-of-15 shooting.  The Blue Springs, Mo., native converted a career-high six threes.

The Bulldogs took an early lead on an opening 3-pointer from Wendell and never looked back. The difference was eventually extended to 36-26 at halftime.

The game was hardly in doubt in the second half, as Drake extended its advantage to as many as 20 en route to the 15-point win.

It was Wendell’s third straight game over 20 points. She’s now the second-leading scoring freshman in the Valley, averaging 14.4 points per game.

Not to be overlooked, junior guard Kyndal Clark continued her high level of play with 21 points, six board and four assists.

Freshman Caitlin Ingle chipped in 15. The rest of the team scored eight points combined.

In Carbondale, SIU hung around for most of the first half before Drake was able to end the period with a 37-29 lead behind Clark’s 19 points.

“I love we came out today, and what a fun way to play,” Baranczyk said. “I’m really proud of our balance.”

Clark, doing her best Kevin Durant impression, added 10 more in the second half to finish with 29 on 10-of-20 shooting, 7-of-12 from beyond the arc.

Wendell added 16 points and five rebounds, and Ingle contributed 14 points and three assists.

The Bulldogs had 19 assists on 31 field goals, seven of which came from senior Alyssa Marschner.

During its winning streak, Drake has averaged nearly 79 points per game while only giving up a little over 63, nine fewer than its season average.

The SIU win concluded a three-game road trip for Drake.

The Bulldogs will try and put the momentum to use when the conference-leading Wichita State Shockers visit the Knapp Center on Friday. The tip is set for 7:05 p.m.

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