Drake avoids Quincy’s upset bid, wins 71-67
Photo: File photo
Led by senior Rachael Hackbarth, the Bulldogs avoided Quincy’s upset bid to come away with the victory 71-67 in their last of two exhibition matches to start the season.
With 5:50 left to play, Drake trailed Quincy 58-53. Hackbarth took over from there, scoring 14 points in a deciding 18-9 run to close out the game.
“What I’m most proud of today (Sunday) is that we got ourselves in a situation where we weren’t executing things on either end of the court, but we still found a way to win,” head coach Amy Stephens said. “I thought our team showed a lot of character, toughness, dug themselves out of a hole and found a way to win.”
Despite Hackbarth finishing with 29 points and 16 rebounds, Stephens said she believes Hackbarth could have had an even bigger night.
“Well, I think Rachael (Hackbarth) will be the first one to tell you today that she was not happy with her performance,” Stephens said. “She missed some shots. I feel like Rachael could have had 40 tonight. Defensively, she can play much better. I think Rachael struggled a little bit. People will look at the points and say ‘what is Coach Stephens talking about?’ But Rachael down the stretch was phenomenal for us. She did what you would expect from a senior with her experience to play like.”
Drake controlled the game in the first half, holding the Lady Hawks to 22 points on 29 percent shooting. However, Quincy hung around thanks to the terrific play of Ali Schwagmeyer and the team’s shooting from outside.
The Bulldogs struggled all night defending the 3-point line, allowing Quincy to shoot 8-of-22 from long range.
“When we play teams that have 3-point shooters, our help side has to be there in case someone does drive, but it has to be early help,” Hackbarth said. “If someone does drive, we got to get back out.”
As the Lady Hawks began getting comfortable with their offense and began spreading the ball around in the second half, Drake resorted to its full-court pressure to break the rhythm of the Quincy offense.
“I think that we just wanted to get in their heads more because they were dribble-driving and kicking it out for open threes,” Hackbarth said. “Wear them down more with our full-court man (defense).”
Stephens went with an upperclassmen-led lineup to close the game down the stretch and relied on Hackbarth pounding the paint to grind out the victory.
“We wanted to go inside, get high percentage shots, get the ball in Rachael’s hands,” Stephens said. “I thought we executed a little better in those last five minutes than we did in the first 35 minutes.”
Junior Kayla Person also had a solid performance, finishing with nine points and three rebounds. Redshirt junior Brittnye McSparron contributed nine points to go along with four rebounds.
McSparron said she believes the Bulldogs need to work on their consistency heading into their first regular-season game.
“We have moments where we play really well, so we are going to work on being consistent, having our defense spark our offense,” McSparron said.
The Bulldogs will travel to take on Illinois-Chicago on Saturday at 2:05 p.m. This will be the first regular-season game for the Bulldogs.
Drake will have to be ready to handle the Flames’ athleticism.
“They’re very athletic, and they’re going to pressure us out of building,” Stephens said. “We have to be able to handle that pressure.”