Sinking 18 of 60 shots is not a path to victory, especially against a nationally ranked opponent.
The Drake women’s basketball team realized this on Monday night, falling to the No. 19 Iowa State Cyclones 64-46 in Ames. The loss evens the Bulldogs’ record at 1-1.
Iowa State played tough defense, but Drake didn’t do itself any favors, Head Coach Amy Stephens said.
“There were a lot of things we did to beat ourselves tonight, and it started with no purpose on the offensive end,” Stephens said. “Our cuts were soft, and we didn’t handle their physicality.”
Stephens said she saw Drake force more bad shots against the Cyclones (2-0) than they had during practices, exhibition games or in its victory over the University of Missouri-Kansas City last Friday.
Down 12-7 with 12:50 to go in the first half, Drake reeled off a 7-0 run to take its only lead of the night.
Things were going the Bulldogs’ way.
Then, 6-foot-7 sophomore Anna Prins drilled a jumper in the paint and collected a free throw for Iowa State after sophomore Stephanie Running of Drake fouled her. The three-point play put the Cyclones back on top 15-14 and started a 16-2 run.
“We weren’t hitting our shots,” senior Kristin Turk said of the offensive drought. “And when we can’t hit our shots, we really need to buckle down on defense, and we weren’t doing that. We weren’t guarding the 3-point line very well.”
Turk led the Bulldogs with 14 points but missed a couple of opportunities early in the second half that might have helped the Bulldogs climb back from a 32-20 halftime deficit.
“Kristin had two really good looks to start the second half, and I think if those two shots had fallen and we could have cut it to eight or six points, I think the second half would have been maybe a little bit different for our team,” Stephens said.
Instead, another 16-2 run by Iowa State to open the second half put the Cyclones up 48-22. Prins started the run with a layup, but offensive spark-plug Kelsey Bolte lifted the crowd off its feet with a 3-pointer. The shot was a dagger in any hopes of a Drake comeback.
Iowa State shot 43 percent from the arc. Bolte hit 4 of 6 3-point attempts and totaled a game-high 16 points. Prins sank 2-of-3 treys, collected 13 points and also snagged seven rebounds.
Recording a game-high of 14 boards was Iowa State freshman Hallie Christofferson. Iowa State out-rebounded Drake 45 to 36 and blocked eight Bulldog shots. Christofferson owned four of those blocks.
“I give Iowa State a lot of credit,” Drake junior Rachael Hackbarth said. “They have a lot of talented post players and, I mean, it’s on me, too. They have a great defense, but I just need to keep better care of the ball.”
Hackbarth fought physical Cyclone defenders the entire game. She tied with Running for a team high of seven rebounds. Turk hauled in six. Hackbarth was second on the team with 13 points.
No other Bulldog reached double-figures.
“We’ve got to have a balanced attack,” Stephens said. “We’re playing eight kids and five of them are underclassmen. We’ve got to get the consistency out of those five underclassmen.”
The victory was Iowa State head coach Bill Fennelly’s 500th. He is the 24th active NCAA Division I women’s basketball coach to reach the mark.
“It’s incredible what Coach Fennelly has done with this Iowa State program,” said Stephens, once an assistant coach at Iowa State. “He’s a great coach and he’s very, very deserving of getting that many wins.”
Photo: Carter Oswood