DES MOINES, Iowa - The Drake women's basketball team came up just short in a 71-66 loss to Illinois State Sunday afternoon at the Knapp Center in front of 2,016 fans. Morgan Reid (Kansas City, Mo.) collected her fourth double-double of the season with 12 points and 10 rebounds along with six assists. Kyndal Clark (Webb City, Mo.) scored a game-high 20 points and pulled down eight rebounds.
With the loss the Bulldogs fall to 5-10 overall and 0-4 in Missouri Valley Conference play. The Redbirds improve to 11-5 overall and 3-1 in the MVC with the win.
Drake head coach Jennie Baranczyk used a new starting line-up for the first time all season as junior Mary Pat Specht (Shawnee, Kan.) and freshman Ashley Bartow (Sun Prairie, Wis.) earned their first career starts. The two joined Carly Grenfell (York, Neb.), Reid and Clark.
The lineup change worked for the first-year head coach as the Bulldogs jumped out to a 20-14 lead at the 8:01 mark in the first half with a jumper by Clark.
"Morgan Reid with a phenomenal stat line with 12 points, 10 rebounds along with six assists and no turnovers," Baranczyk said. "She did a great job of understanding our offense. Kyndal, we really challenged to hit the boards and she did that today with the eight rebounds to go along with 20 points."
Significant runs in each half gave Illinois State breathing room after a back and forth affair for most of the afternoon. There were 14 lead changes and two ties, with no team's largest lead more than eight points.
"I liked our shot selection today, we got some great shots and got to the free throw line," Baranczyk said. "I loved our motion offense and thought we did a great job executing it. We still need to do a better job of attacking early in the shot clock so we aren't scrambling at the end but that will come with maturity and time."
After trailing at the half, 36-31, Drake came out strong in the second half. Grenfell hit a three, and Reid scored four points to give Drake a 43-42 lead five minutes in.
The two teams traded baskets for the majority of the half. Clark had eight of her 20 points in the second half giving the Bulldog's their largest lead, 60-52, with 8:23 to play.
The Redbirds answered with a 13-0 run, taking back the lead for good with a Janae Smith lay-in with 4:13 to play.
Candace Sykes led the Redbirds with 19 points and Smith added 16 points along with eight rebounds. Alexis Jenkins was the other ISU player in double figures with 12 points.
Drake finished with eight three-pointers against a tough Illinois State defense that came into the day limiting conference opponents to just 4.67 per game. It was the most three-pointers made for the Bulldogs since the Iowa game on Dec. 16.
The Bulldogs outrebounded the Redbirds, 40 -35, including fifteen offensive rebounds for 17 second chance points. In the loss Friday to Indiana State, Drake committed 20 turnovers but only committed 14 today with seven in each half.
Drake will look for their first conference victory when they travel to Missouri State on Saturday, Jan. 19. The start time in Springfield, Mo. has been moved to 12:05 p.m. from 2:05 p.m.