For the Drake women’s basketball team, the number four is a sore statistic.
Last Thursday night, Southern Illinois dealt Drake a four-point defeat in Carbondale, Ill., 63-59. The last-minute loss marked the Bulldogs fourth straight, dropping Drake to 11-12 overall and 5-7 in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Shaky shooting plagued the Bulldogs, who shot just 42.3 percent from the floor. Illness sidelined freshman Kyndal Clark, Drake’s second-leading scorer, in the second half. Clark wears No. 4.
The Bulldogs aimed to snap a three-game losing streak against the Salukis, and Drake maintained momentum in the first half. Senior forward Rachael Hackbarth notched 13 points in the initial stanza, leading Drake to 52.5 percent first-half shooting. Hackbarth finished with 27 points and a season-high 16 rebounds.
The Bulldogs entered halftime with a 30-21 advantage.
In the second half, Southern Illinois hit its offensive stride, sinking 6-of-9 shots from 3-point land en route to 59.1 percent shooting from the floor. The Salukis’ Teri Oliver drained five of the team’s seven total 3-pointers. Oliver recorded 14 points in the second half after scoring only three first half points.
Southern Illinois captured the lead with 13:29 remaining on the game clock thanks to Alexus Patterson’s layup.
The Salukis sprinted to an eight-point advantage, but Drake powered an offensive run of its own to trim the lead to two with 20 seconds left in the game. Then, the Bulldogs fouled Southern Illinois’ Brooke LeMar, sending her to the free throw line.
Both shots swished through the hoop, dealing Drake a two-possession deficit with 17 seconds remaining on the game clock.
Needing four points to even the score, the Bulldogs handed the ball to redshirt freshman Carly Grenfell with 11 seconds left. Grenfell’s final trey missed the mark, sealing Drake’s 63-59 defeat. The Bulldogs shot just 25 percent from 3-point land.
“We had plenty of opportunities to win this game, and we just didn’t capitalize on it,” said head coach Amy Stephens in a Drake Athletics press release.
Despite another last-minute loss, several Bulldogs boasted notable performances.
Hackbarth earned her 16th double-double of the 2011-12 season. Senior guard Brittnye McSparron chipped in nine points, and Grenfell and sophomore Morgan Reid added eight points each.
The Bulldogs took on Evansville on the road yesterday. Details from that contest will be available in the next issue of The Times-Delphic. Drake returns home to host Indiana State on Friday at 7:05 p.m.