The Drake Bulldogs were defeated by the Louisville Cardinals 83-81 this past Saturday in a nail-biter game during the first round of March Madness.
The Drake women’s basketball team took on the high-seeded Cardinals in a competitive NCAA Tournament matchup. The Bulldogs earned an automatic bid into March Madness by winning the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament on March 12, thereby earning them the 12-seed in the Women’s NCAA Tournament.
The Bulldogs and Cardinals were neck and neck the entire game, with the score being tied at 39 at halftime. There wasn’t a dull moment in the second half, with the lead alternating between Drake and Louisville. In the final minutes, redshirt senior Grace Berg hit a clutch shot to score two, was fouled on the play and scored the lone free throw to tie the game at 75-75 with one minute and 22 seconds left on the clock. However, in the final seconds, Louisville was able to narrowly come away with an 83-81 victory.
Offensively, the Bulldogs had four players in their starting lineup reach double digit points. Sophomore Katie Dinnebier led the team with 20 points. Other players that reached double digits included sophomore Anna Miller and Berg, both totaling 17 points and senior Sarah Beth Gueldner scored 11 points. Senior Maggie Bair led the Bulldogs with six rebounds to go along with one assist and five points. Off the bench, junior Courtney Becker put up 11 points to go along with five rebounds and three assists.
As a team, Drake recorded a 51.8 field goal percentage and a 47.1 field goal percentage from the 3-point line. They also went 15-19 from the free throw line, resulting in a 78.9 free throw percentage. The Bulldogs also picked up 32 rebounds, 21 assists, five blocks, and four steals, drew 23 fouls, and gathered 11 turnovers from the Cardinals.
The 2022-23 season marked head coach Allison Pohlman’s second season coaching the Bulldogs, with the team finishing the season 19-9 overall, 14-6 in conference play and finishing in fourth place in the Missouri Valley Conference standings. Pohlman led the Bulldogs to their first MVC Tournament championship since 2018 and led them to their first appearance in March Madness since 2019.
This season also marks the first time in school history that both the men’s and women’s basketball teams made it to March Madness, both being ranked at the 12-seed. The Drake men’s team has made it to March Madness six times and the Drake women’s team has made it 14 times.
This year also marked the first time both teams won the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, with the men’s team winning it twice and the women’s team winning it eight times.
Bulldogs returning to the team next year will include Miller, a Second Team Scholar-Athlete; Dinnebier, a Third-Team All-MVC player and Becker an Honorable Mention Scholar-Athlete.
The Bulldogs’ hope for next season is to return to March Madness. Under the direction of Pohlman, they hope to make a 15th appearance in the big dance next year.