Women's Basketball Defeats Saint Louis, 61-55
DES MOINES, Iowa - A strong defensive effort combined with 13 points from Morgan Reid (Kansas City, Mo.) and seven assists from Alyssa Marschner (Plymouth, Minn.) helped the Drake University women's basketball team defeat Saint Louis, 61-55, at the Knapp Center Friday evening.
"Today I really saw something from our team," Drake head coach Jennie Baranczyk said. "I saw a lot of improvement in our players particularly in Alyssa [Marschner] and Morgan [Reid].
The Drake (4-6) defense forced 22 Saint Louis (5-7) turnovers while converting at a 46.9 percent clip on the offensive end to spoil former Drake head coach Lisa Stone's return to the Knapp Center. SLU was led by Lorreal Jones 15 points and seven rebounds.
After taking a 25-22 deficit into the locker room, the Bulldogs opened the second stanza on a 13-3 run capped by back-to-back-to-back three-pointers from Kyndal Clark (Webb City, Mo.), Carly Grenfell (York, Neb.) and Mary Pat Specht (Shawnee, Kan.) to take a 35-28 lead six minutes into the half. Grenfell and Clark finished with 12 and 10 points, respectively, with Clark adding four assists and three steals.
"The biggest thing we stressed at halftime was to control what we could control," Baranczyk said. "We had to control the tempo and if can do that we can win games."
SLU countered with a 9-2 spurt over the next four minutes to tie the game before the Bulldogs, energized by the home crowd, reasserted that tempo and quickly extended its lead back to five points, 42-37, on a three-pointer from Clark and a layup for Reid.
"The last eight minutes of the game we really stepped it up and played great team basketball," Baranczyk said. "We did a much better job on 50-50 balls and stepped up and hit our free throws."
While the Drake offense continued to score points, the defense was the star of the second half by holding SLU to just 41.4 percent shooting and 25 percent from the three-point arc.
Drake put itself in position for the win with just under three minutes to play on a beautifully executed and uncontested layup from Reid off of Marschner's seventh assist of the night. SLU took a time out to regroup, but the defense forced another turnover to keep the Billikens' offense at bay.
In the final minute Drake clung to a 55-53 lead before Clark got a driving layup that was matched by SLU on its ensuing possession. With less than 20 seconds to play and SLU forced to foul, Drake was a perfect 4-of-4 from the free throw line to extend its lead to two possessions. The Bulldogs were a nearly flawless 10-of-12 from the line on the evening.
SLU's final attempt to tie the game was thwarted by Marschner who deflected a pass on the wing and corralled the ball at midcourt as time expired.
Drake will take a break for the holidays and will next play on the road at Milwaukee on Saturday, Dec. 29th at 3 p.m. Ric Silvestrini will call the action on 1350-KRNT and live stats will be available at www.godrakebulldogs.com.