The Drake women’s basketball team sure knew how to keep a crowd captivated last week, putting on not one but two electric performances at home.
On Thursday, Nov. 30 the team faced Big 12 opponent Iowa State at the Knapp Center.
The energy pulsed through the Knapp Center from tipoff to 4th quarter buzzer, both the home and away crowds having accumulated impressive showings: 3,212 fans to be exact, reported Drake Athletic Communications. It’s not every day that a Big 12 squad comes to play in Des Moines.
The Drake women dominated the first quarter, quickly putting up 12 points to ISU’s 5. The Cyclones regrouped and tied it up in the second quarter, however, quickly putting a damper on Drake’s momentum at least for the time being. The Cyclones and Bulldogs traded off the lead until Drake went on a three-pointer spree to solidify a 10-point lead going into half.
The second half followed the same sort of outline, a brief blowout by Drake until ISU caught up yet again. The Cyclones took a late lead and looked to close out the game on top, but Drake’s Paige Greiner, a senior guard, stepped up in a huge way by making a three to give Drake their momentum back. ISU wasn’t finished, though; it came down to the last two seconds where Becca Hittner put up a beautiful layup and a foul shot to match, giving the Bulldogs the 83-80 victory.
The win against the Cyclones was not only enthralling but timely. Drake University icon Paul Morrison, “Mr. Drake,” had passed away earlier that day, and the crowd needed something to cherish in spite of the troubling news. President Martin broke the announcement to the crowd before the game, reminding the audience that it was a privilege to know Mr. Drake and that there was no place he would have rather been than in the Knapp Center that evening.
It was a quick turn around for the team as they were up against Creighton Blue Jays, a local rival out of Omaha, on Sunday afternoon.
In the first five minutes of the game, the Bulldogs made it look almost too easy by scoring 11 unanswered points, forcing the Blue Jays to take a time out. In the latter half of the second quarter, Creighton woke up and started to play for real. However, Drake went into the locker room still with the lead at halftime.
The second half was, in a word, wild. Creighton took the lead in the third after a string of money shots and critical free throws. Drake managed to come back from the deficit to force the game into its first but not only overtime period.
Tensions became astronomically more palpable as the women continued to battle through not one, not two, not three, but four overtime periods, the time equivalent of a regulation half.
The Drake women were almost able to walk off with the victory at the end of the third overtime period thanks to Sammie Bachrodt’s nothing-but-clutch make with 1.9 seconds left. Creighton called a timeout and with almost no time left, tied the game back up and forced a fourth overtime after a late Drake foul sent the Blue Jays’ Audrey Faber to the line to make two painful baskets in front of a frustrated Des Moines crowd.
Creighton showed no mercy in the fourth overtime period and eventually came away with the almost illusive victory, knocking the Bulldogs to 4-4 on the season.
When asked how she lasted through such a tiresome matchup, junior guard Sammie Bachrodt said fatigue never really crossed her mind.
“Honestly, I did not feel any fatigue until (after),” Bachrodt said. “When you are in such an intense game like that, the adrenaline sort of takes over.”
Although the loss was a disappointing one, Bachrodt noted that it’ll serve a game to learn and grow from.
Bachrodt went just under 50 percent on field goals against Creighton on Sunday with 16 points. Other offensive leaders on Sunday were redshirt sophomore forward Sarah Rhine, putting up 25 and earning Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week, and sophomore guard Becca Hittner with 18 points.
The Bulldogs were unopposed Monday, but were right back at it against Iowa Wesleyan yesterday, Dec. 5, in the annual Pack the Knapp game, with over 4,500 fans in attendance, another season high. Drake delivered a brutal beating, winning the game 102-25.
The Drake women will stay in Des Moines this Saturday when they face Nebraska at 2pm. The game will be televised on ESPN3’s The Valley and broadcast on 1350 ESPN Des Moines.