ONLINE EXCLUSIVE BY ADAM ROGAN
Drake Women’s Basketball struggled in the first half for the second straight postseason game, but recouped in the second half, overcome a six-point halftime deficit and won the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament semifinal game over the Wichita State Shockers, 86-68.
This is the first time the Bulldogs will play in the MVC Tournament Championship game since 2014. A win would give the team its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2008.
At halftime, Wichita State led 33-27. But in the first 16 minutes of the second half, the Bulldogs put up 52 points. The Shockers only had 24 in that span.
In the first half, the Bulldogs only shot 33.3 percent from the field. In the second, they were above than 54 percent. In the third quarter, Drake shot 68.4 percent to score 37 points, leading to an 18-point swing in 10 minutes.
Senior Lizzy Wendell was the force she needed to be in the second half. She scored 23 points in the final 20 minutes and had 34 total, tying her season high. It was also her 11th career game with 30 or more points.
She now has 2,514 career points, the third most in Drake history.
Senior Caitlin Ingle became the all-time Drake assist leader in the game. She finished with a double-double, 11 points and 11 assists.
Sophomore Sammie Bachrodt helped put Wichita State away. She only had two points in the first half but netted 12 in the second.
It was the Bulldogs’ 21st straight victory, the longest streak in MVC basketball history.
Drake will face either the University of Northern Iowa or Evansville University in the championship game, depending on what team wins their semifinal game. UNI is ranked second in the conference and still has a chance to make the NCAA Tournament even without the automatic bid granted to the team that wins the MVC Championship.
The championship game is scheduled to tip off at 2 p.m. on March 12. It will be broadcast on ESPN3.