After senior Kristin Turk made her first 3-pointer of the night, the Bulldogs opened up a 10-2 lead on St. Mary’s, only to watch it slip away because of cold shooting and St. Mary’s Jasmine Smith exploding for 16 points in the second half. The Gaels went on to defeat Drake, 70-46.
“They were hitting tough shots and we really needed to buckle down on defense,” Turk said of the rough second half. “At times, we were feeling deflated. It was really tough for us to come back.”
Unfortunately, this pattern has become a theme recently for the Drake women. Last Monday, the Bulldogs kept up with the Cyclones only to watch the shooting disappear and lose, 64-46.
After Drake (1-2) started the game 4-of-7, it looked to be in command. However, the Bulldogs shot 27.7 percent the rest of the way. Despite the rough shooting, Drake was only behind 29-23 at halftime and was still in prime shape to make a turn-around in the second half. However, St. Mary’s came out in the second half and shot 60.7 percent and the Bulldogs simply couldn’t keep up.
St. Mary’s ended the game with a 20-3 run, which summed up the night for the Bulldogs. The defense couldn’t buckle down when it needed to, and the shots just weren’t falling for Drake. St. Mary’s center Louella Tomlinson tied a Knapp Center record for an opponent with seven blocked shots. The NCAA career blocks leader added 13 points.
Tomlinson has 527 career blocks and the Bulldogs didn’t have an answer for her presence in the paint. When they double-teamed her, she kicked out to open shooters. Her favorite target was Smith, who scored 23 points in the game.
“We’re trying to double down on Tomlinson,” Drake sophomore guard Kayla Person said. “Well, she kicks it out to a guard shooting a three, and it’s really difficult to cover that up.”
The Bulldogs travel to Flagstaff, Ariz., to participate in the Northern Arizona Thanksgiving Classic this weekend.
Photo: Emily Tozer