Story by Ashley Beall
Photo by Luke Nankivell
Drake women’s basketball has finished up its regular season and is headed to St. Charles, Mo., for the March 14-17 Missouri Valley Conference Championship. The Bulldogs beat Southern Illinois this past Thursday 80-65 but failed to defeat Evansville this past Sunday and lost 70-59.
“I think we had great energy. People were taking shots and people were doing what they do best,” said sophomore Kyndal Clark of the Southern Illinois win. “It was such a team effort. Morgan Reid had a great game and everyone just played together and we had fun, which is something we lacked against Evansville. We just through the first punch and didn’t look back.”
The Bulldogs were able to keep their hot hand alive throughout the Southern Illinois game, and at the start of the second half, the Bulldogs continued that run and pulled out a win.
Clark scored 20 points and had a career-high of 10 assists. Junior Morgan Reid also added a double-double with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Freshman Ashley Bartow scored 16 points.
However, the Bulldogs weren’t able to continue that momentum against Evansville.
“We just couldn’t quite hit shots today. We couldn’t get them to fall, and they came out and they played a great game,” Clark said. “They found our weaknesses and exploited them.”
Drake showed strong defense in the first half but was unable to hold on in the second half. The Bulldogs struggled offensively and only made 1-of-15 three-point attempts in the second half.
Throughout the first half, Drake and Evansville were evenly matched, but second half proved to be the Bulldogs’ falling point as they shot just 35.2 percent from the field while the Purple Aces shot 50 percent from the field.
“They really attacked and they really took it to the rim, and they kept going to what was working.,” Reid said. “We have to take it upon ourselves to make adjustments next time.”
The Bulldogs struggled to adjust and shoot consistently against Evansville.
During the past few games, the Bulldogs came together and played as one unit. However, this wasn’t as apparent against Evansville.
“Up until today we have been playing some of our best basketball,” head coach Jennie Baranczyk said. “We have really controlled the tempo and gotten up and down the floor well. Today, we struggled with our shooting in the second half, and I think part of that was Evansville and part of that was us.”
With the regular season over, the Bulldogs are ready to open the MVC Championship on Thursday in St. Charles.
“We’re going to be focus(ed) and we’re going to be ready and prepare to make another run,” Reid said. “We just need to remember how we were playing when it was good and when we were winning. We just need to go back to that and I think we can do some great things if we continue to do that.”