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Drake looks to separate from Shockers

Photo: File Photo

Returning to the Knapp Center, Drake will take on Wichita State tonight with tip-off at 7:05 p.m.

The Shockers are tied with the Bulldogs at 3-4 in the Missouri Valley Conference and have a 9-9 record overall this season.

Coming off a 30-point loss against conference-leader Missouri State last week, the Shockers will look for the win, relying on offensive standouts junior Haleigh Lankster and sophomore Jessica Diamond.

Sophomore Michelle Price has also become a force on the court. The forward earned her first double-double in the Shockers’ 59-56 win over Illinois State last weekend.

Drake has had its fair share of impressive individual performances. Senior guard Kristin Turk remains the conference’s scoring leader by a five-point margin and junior Rachael Hackbarth’s points per game average put her in the top 15 as well.

Tonight will begin a four-game home streak for the Bulldogs, with Missouri State, Evansville and Southern Illinois rounding out the lineup.

Turk said she looks forward to returning to home turf this week.

“It’ll be nice to get back home and to get back into the atmosphere in front of our home crowd, but we need to stay focused in those games,” she said.

Turk said the team recognizes the stiff competition coming up for them at the Knapp Center.
“Wichita State has the ability to play really well and Missouri State is obviously the top team in our league, so we’ve got to be ready for them,” she said.

Head coach Amy Stephens said she’d like to see the Bulldogs play a tighter game, hone shooting skills and work on being more poised in pressure situations.

“I want to see our team get better defensively and rebound the basketball,” Stephens said after the loss to Indiana State last week. “If we continue to improve, I think our team could finish in the top five in the Valley.”

Drake stands at fifth place in the Valley right now, tied with Wichita State and Illinois State for the middle-of-the-road conference standing. A loss tonight could put the Bulldogs in the bottom half of the conference.

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