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Junior Kyndal Clark
Courtesy: Chris Donahue

Women's Basketball Drops Overtime Thriller To In-State Rival Northern Iowa

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
         
Release: March 02, 2014
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DES MOINES, Iowa – Junior Kyndal Clark (Webb City, Mo.) poured in a career-high 41 points and freshman Lizzy Wendell (Blue Springs, Mo.) added a career-best 35 points, but it was not enough for the Drake University women’s basketball team to overcome Northern Iowa as it lost a 99-97 overtime thriller on Sunday afternoon at the Knapp Center in front of 2,715 fans.

Wendell nailed a three-pointer with two seconds remaining in regulation to push the contest to overtime with the score at 84-84. She later knocked down two free throws at the start of the overtime period to give Drake the lead, 86-84, and later another three-pointer from the freshman gave the Bulldogs a 92-91 advantage on the scoreboard.

However, Hannah Schonhardt of UNI (16-11, 12-4 MVC) answered with her own trey to push the Panthers in front at 94-92. Clark’s final points of the day evened the game at 94-94 with 35 seconds left, but the Panthers responded again this time with four-straight free throws to lead 98-94 with nine seconds to go. Wendell didn’t back down as she made another three-pointer, this one with three seconds on the clock, but Alyssa Marschner (Plymouth, Minn.) of Drake (14-13, 8-8 MVC) was called for a technical foul for reaching across the line on the ensuing UNI inbounds play.

Brittni Donaldson, who finished with a career-high 34 points, made one of two free throws as the Panthers kept the ball after the technical holding a 99-97 lead. Schonhardt passed the ball in and Clark stole it at midcourt, but she lost the ball. Wendell corralled the loose ball, but her half court heave fell short at the buzzer.

“The fans got to see two really good basketball teams today,” said Drake head coach Jennie Baranczyk. “It’s too bad we didn’t start off a little better because we dug ourselves a bit of a hole. A better start would have helped, but hats off to UNI. They are a very good basketball team and Brittni Donaldson and Jen Keitel came to play today, doing a phenomenal job. We made some big shots to, but they ended up pulling out a hard fought game.”

UNI raced out of the gates to take an early 9-0 lead at the 18:13 mark of the opening half as Drake quickly used a timeout. The Bulldogs didn’t panic though as a jumper by sophomore Ashley Bartrow (Sun Prairie, Wis.) put the Bulldogs on the score board and kicked off a 12-2 scoring run, allowing Drake to take a 12-11 lead with 13:52 remaining in the half.

Another Bartow jumper put Drake up 19-17 with under 10 minutes in the half, but a 16-3 Panthers scoring run over nearly six minutes gave UNI an 11-point lead over the Bulldogs (33-22). However, Drake mounted a furious charge to close out the first half, scoring nine straight points to only trail 33-31 at the halftime break.

Clark, who scored 30 points in the second half to shatter her previous top mark of 22 for a half, opened the second half with an and-one to give Drake a 34-33 lead. However, it would be the team’s final lead in the half as UNI would lead by as many as 10 points. Donaldson extended the Panthers advantage to 84-81 with two free throws and 10 seconds remaining before Wendell’s three-pointer to force overtime.

After her career-day, Wendell now has 423 points in her debut season as she is just the 10th Missouri Valley Conference freshmen to have 400 or more points in their first campaign. She joins two former Drake standouts, Tammi Blackstone and Carla Bennett, in the exclusive club. Clark continues to add to her record setting season three-point total as she now has100 three’s on the year. The previous Drake record was 90 set by Kiersten Miller during the 1996-97 season. Clark leads The Valley with four 30-plus scoring days this year.

Jen Keitel, who tallied a double-double with 28 points and 13 rebounds, helped the Panthers stake a 43-35 advantage on the glass. UNI had 21 second chance points to just 11 for Drake. The Bulldogs had eight turnovers in the first half, but tightened up in the second half with just three. Drake forced 17 UNI turnovers, scoring 24 points off the mistakes.

Drake welcomes Indiana State on Thursday, March 6 in its second to last regular season game of the season. Tipoff with the Sycamores is set for 7:05 pm.

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