BY JOE MILLER
The Drake women’s basketball team is well under way with its 2016 campaign, most recently picking up wins against Northern Illinois and Wyoming while losing to Creighton, Iowa State, and Green Bay. This stretch puts the Bulldogs at 3-3 heading into the rest of their season.
Drake hit the road against longtime rival Creighton, losing a back-and-forth affair 80-77. The game featured 14 lead changes along with seven ties and came down to the final minutes. The Bluejays led by five heading into the final quarter, but Drake came out firing and an 8-0 run gave the Bulldogs a two-point advantage with only three minutes to play. Despite having the hot hand early, Drake was kept scoreless for the remainder of the game and ultimately fell by just three points.
The Bulldog scoring effort was led by Senior Caitlin Ingle, who contributed 20 points, and Senior Lizzy Wendell who added 19 more. Sophomore Sammie Bachrodt turned in an all-around performance, posting a career-high 16 points, four steals and five rebounds.
Drake looked to bounce-back against another non-conference opponent, the Iowa State Cyclones. The Bulldogs led by five through three quarters, but fell apart late in the game and ISU eventually took the game 75-67. Drake was held scoreless in the final two minutes for the second game in a row, which once again proved to be their downfall. In addition to going cold down the stretch, the Bulldogs made a number of mental mistakes including 13 turnovers and 24 fouls.
A number of Bulldogs turned in solid overall performances. Lizzy Wendell led DU in points with 20, adding six rebounds and two steals. Sammie Bachrodt gave another well-rounded performance as well, scoring 17 points, six rebounds, two assists and a steal. Sophomore Sarah Rhine added nine points and 13 rebounds.
Despite the loss, it was a special night for Senior Caitlin Ingle whose 16 points pushed her past the 1,000 career point threshold.
Returning from the road-trip, Drake squared off against the Wyoming Cowgirls. Drake once again had a solid handle on the game up until the fourth quarter. Drake led 47-39 heading into the final frame, but an early 10-3 run from Wyoming made it a one point game with only six minutes to play. Destined to make sure history did not repeat itself, the Bulldogs charged ahead and went on a 13-1 run in the final minutes to secure the win, 63-50.
Wendell once again led the Bulldog offensive attack with 18, followed by Sammie Bachrodt who added 11. Wendell also dished out five assists, followed again by Bachrodt with three. Drake’s biggest gain came from capitalizing on Wyoming’s mistakes, as they totaled 28 points off Cowgirl turnovers, including six from the fast break.
The Bulldogs were back in action at the Knapp Center for their next game, taking on the Northern Illinois Huskies. In an offense-powered game, the two teams combined for 181 points. Drake had the shooting touch, converting on 50.7 percent of their 73 field goals. Despite trailing early in the first quarter, Drake regained the lead with seven minutes left in the first and held onto it for the rest of the game, eventually finishing the Huskies off 95-86.
Wendell shined once again for the Drake offense, dropping 30 points and grabbing six boards in the process. Three other Bulldogs scored in the double digits, Sara Rhine had 19, freshman Becca Hinter had 16 in her debut, and Caitlin Ingle added 13. In addition to her scoring success, Hinter pulled in seven rebounds. Ingle added 11 assists as well, giving her a double-double.
Drake finished off the latest stretch with an away game against Horizon League power house Green Bay. The Phoenix jumped out early, taking a 20-9 lead after just a quarter, and eventually pushing their lead to 14 at the end of the first half. Shooting troubles plagued the Drake offense, as they shot an abysmal 31 percent from the floor. In addition to cold shooting, Drake turned the ball over 21 times on their way to a 71-48 defeat.
Wendell and Bachrodt were tied atop the scoring leaders with 12 apiece. Bachrodt also led Drake in rebounds with seven. Senior Caitlin Ingle hit another milestone, as her five assists were enough to propel her to second all-time at Drake with 579.
Drake looks to get back on the winning track Dec. 6 against Nebraska in Lincoln.