Women’s Basketball Edged By Indiana State, 73-71
DES MOINES, Iowa - The Drake University women’s basketball team fell to Indiana State, 73-71, in another hard-fought thriller on Thursday night in front of 1,863 fans at the Knapp Center.
After Indiana State (18-10, 13-4 MVC) controlled the first half shooting 72 percent and holding a 48-41 halftime advantage. Drake (14-14, 8-9 MVC) crept back in the second half with a 23-14 scoring run to take a 64-62 lead with 6:38 to play, its first lead since midway through the first half.
The teams traded baskets until Indiana State’s Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir scored a ‘and-one’ with 2:18 to play, pushing the Sycamores to a 71-68 lead, but freshman Caitlin Ingle (Runnells, Iowa) answered with her only two free throws to trim Drake’s deficit to 71-60.
Following the free throws, the Bulldogs forced a missed three by Indiana State. Freshman Lizzy Wendell’s (Blue Springs, Mo.) layup rolled out on Drake’s next possession and the Sycamores grabbed the board. The Bulldogs forced two more misses, but came up empty on pulling down the rebound as they had to foul Abdul-Qaadir with 14 seconds left in the game.
After Qaadir made both free throws, junior Kyndal Clark (Webb City, Mo.) toed the line with 4.3 seconds to play and the Bulldogs down 73-71 with hopes of sinking the first free throw and grabbing the second rebound to tie the game. However, the Sycamores spoiled Drake’s chances of overtime, and grabbed the ball to secure the win.
“Tonight is another tough game. We’ve lost two games now by two points, one in overtime and one that came down to the wire. But, we’re making progress,” Drake head coach Jennie Baranczyk said. “We’re not quite there yet. We have a few things we need to get better, but the thing I can appreciate about this team is we’re still hungry and we’re still ready to continue to get better and we’re not done playing.”
Drake’s dynamic duo, Clark and Wendell led the Bulldogs with 20 and 28 points, respectively. Ingle added 14 points, putting three Bulldogs in double figures. Clark’s four three-pointers tonight give her 104 total this season, which ties the Missouri Valley Conference all-time record for most three-pointers in a single season. Wendell finished a stellar 10-of-11 from the free throw line as Drake went 16-for-19 as a team.
Indiana State hit a season-high 10 three-pointers, but just two came in the second half. After shooting a blistering 72 percent from the field in the first half, Drake locked down Indiana State at just 34.5 percent in the second half. Abdul-Qaadir led the Sycamores with 23 points. Three others chipped in 11 points each.
“Sometimes that’s how it goes. They had two players that came in and started off really hot, especially from the outside from the three-point line. They don’t normally do that– so it is discouraging. But at the same time we were still in the game,” Baranczyk said.
The Bulldogs got off to an early start with a three-pointer by Clark to put the first points on the board. However, a string of four three-pointers by the Sycamores propelled them to a 19-18 lead midway through the first half.
Drake was able to pick up points off 13 rebounds in the first half, keeping the score tight. The lead changed four times within one minute with 10:51 to play in the half, but Indiana State held onto the lead, heading into the locker room up 48-41.
The Bulldogs opened the second half shooting 0-for-6 from the field, but a layup by Wendell three minutes in set the Bulldogs on a scoring run to chase the lead. Drake outscored the Sycamores 18-8 over a nine-minute span in the second half. Wendell came in off a media timeout to sink a three-pointer and grab the lead at 64-62 with 6:38 remaining in the game.
“We stuck with them. We played better against them in this game than we did the first time we played them, which is always a positive,” Clark said. “What’s frustrating is that we didn’t do some of the things that we know we can do."
With Thursday’s win, Indiana State moved into a three-way tie for first place in the MVC along with Wichita State and Northern Iowa. The Bulldogs, who are now tied for fifth with Missouri State and Illinois State, can potentially finish as high as fourth in the conference and no lower than seventh.
Drake plays its final home match-up on Saturday (March 8) against Illinois State before heading to the conference tournament. Seniors Mary Pat Specht (Shawnee, Kan.) and Alyssa Marschner (Plymouth, Minn.) will be recognized for Senior Day following Saturday’s contest. Tip-off with the Redbirds is set for 2:05 p.m.