STORY BY MICHAEL WENDLANDT
In a premier matchup of the top two teams in the Missouri Valley Conference, Drake Women’s Basketball fell to Wichita State on the road 80-59 Friday night. Falling to 13-2 in conference play, Drake relinquished first place for the first time since Feb. 1 when they defeated the Shockers in Des Moines on Feb. 1.
Freshman Maddy Dean led the way for the Bulldogs with 23 points, while Becca Jonas picked up another double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
After the opening tip, Drake moved ahead quickly behind free throws from Lizzy Wendell and Caitlin Ingle and a three from Dean to take a 7-2 lead, but soon began to struggle against one of the top defenses in the country.
Forcing 14 turnovers in the first half, the Shockers started to take control. Wichita State used a 9-0 run to stretch the game out and went into halftime with a 39-27 lead behind Alex Harden, who went on to score 23 points in the game.
The second half started the same way the first ended as Drake fell behind by over 20 points.
The Bulldogs began chipping away at the deficit behind some quality shooting from Dean, going on an 11-3 run. The Bulldogs were able to close the lead to 15 points, but were unable to get any closer than that as the Shockers clamped down and held Drake’s high-powered offense in check.
Coach Baranczyk and the Drake team were unavailable for comment after the loss.
The Bulldogs fell to the Missouri State Bears on Sunday, 86-57, Drake being plagued with turnovers for the second consecutive game. These losses mark Drake’s only losing streak since the first three games of the season.
Coughing the ball up 29 times and only shooting 38 percent from the field doomed the Bulldogs as they dropped their second straight road game, both against MVC opponents.
Ingle scored 14 points on five of nine shooting while also pulling down six rebounds and dishing out six assists. The only other Bulldog in double figures was Wendell with 12.
Drake scored the first bucket of the game after Wendell hit a three, but this was one of the two leads the Bulldogs would hold in the game.
Drake surrendered an 8-0 run and along with a three-minute scoring drought midway through the first half, allowing the Bears to build a 19 point lead on a series. Drake trailed 47-28 at halftime.
Ingle led the way at half with nine points while Jonas had seven and Dean added five. 14 of the Bulldog’s turnovers came in the first half.
The second half started with a Missouri State 8-0 run, sparked by a three from Bears leading scorer Kenzie Williams.
Coach Jennie Baranczyk did everything she could to stem the tide, using different lineup combinations to stop the momentum, but they were only short term fixes, as Missouri State continued to play sound defense, forcing a series of turnovers, including three in-a-row halfway through the second period.
Missouri State continued to balance their defense with consistent shooting, ending the game with a 43 percent shooting percentage. As a team, the Bears connected on 13 three pointers compared to Drake’s nine.
Coach Baranczyk and the Bulldogs again refused to make any post-game comments.
At 18-9 overall and 13-3 in the conference Drake will need one more win to clinch the number two spot in the MVC. The Bulldogs return home to end the regular season with games against Bradley and Loyola on Thursday and Saturday.