Women's Basketball Closes Regular Season With Win Over Illinois State
DES MOINES, Iowa – Freshman Caitlin Ingle’s (Runnells, Iowa) layup with 12 seconds remaining helped the Drake University women basketball team edge the Illinois State Redbirds, 67-66, in a tightly contested game in front of 2,278 fans on Saturday afternoon at the Knapp Center.
Illinois State (9-19, 8-10 MVC) went up 66-65 after Katy Winge’s jumper with 1:05 to play. Drake (15-14, 9-9 MVC) had a chance to take the lead back on the next possession, but freshman Lizzy Wendell’s (Blue Springs, Mo.) three-point attempt was blocked as the Redbirds Lindsay Smith grabbed the ball and was fouled by Wendell with 52 seconds to go.
However, the Bulldogs locked down on the defensive end and forced a missed jumper by Chloe Nelson as sophomore Ashley Bartow (Sun Prairie, Wis.) pulled down her ninth rebound of the game with 25 seconds left to set up Ingle’s game winner.
The Redbirds had one final chance, but again the Bulldogs’ defense clamped down and forced a wild Redbirds’ possession as the ball went out of bounds for what appeared to be the end of the game. After a review by the officials, 0.1 seconds was put back on the clock for Illinois State, who kept the ball. It didn’t matter though as the Redbirds inbounds pass was knocked away as the buzzer sounded for good this time.
Junior Kyndal Clark (Webb City, Mo.) scored a game-high 26 points and made history in the process. Clark knocked down four three-pointers to become the new Missouri Valley Conference single-season three-point record holder with 108. She broke a tie with Melody Howard of Missouri State, who made 104 in the 1993-94 campaign. Clark’s 26 points today moved her from 20th all-time in career points in Drake women’s basketball history to 17th place at 1,352 points. She passed former standouts, Erin Richards (1,334), Jordan Plummer (1,343) and Connie Newlin (1,351).
Wendell finished with 17 points with three three-pointers, while Ingle had 15 points, three rebounds, three assists and one steal. Bartow and junior Liza Heap (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) led the Bulldogs on the glass with nine each. Heap chipped in five points, three steals and two assists.
The freshmen duo propelled the Bulldogs to an early 12-4 lead, and forced a Redbird timeout. Wendell had six quick points, while Ingle added four. Illinois State ripped off a 15-3 scoring run after the timeout to grab a 19-15 lead.
Heap converted a tough layup and later knocked down a three to reclaim the lead at 23-21. Clark, who finished with a first-half high of 13 points, had consecutive layups in the final 50 seconds to help Drake hold a 36-30 halftime lead. She set the conference record with her first three-ball of the afternoon at the 12:29 mark.
Wendell chipped in 12 points, as the Bulldogs shot a stellar 57.7 percent (15-of-26) from the floor in the opening half.
Ingle started the second half with five straight points, Wendell drilled a three-pointer and Clark had a layup as Drake extended its lead to 48-34, and forced a timeout by Illinois State. The timeout helped the Redbirds once again as they used a 15-0 scoring run to take a one-point lead at 49-48 with 11:32 to go.
Another Clark layup stopped the scoring run, but Lindsay Smith got a friendly bounce on her jumper as Illinois State took the lead back at 51-50.
Drake roared back out of the under-12 timeout with a 9-2 scoring run to grab the back at 59-53, but another Illinois State run evened the game at 62-62 with 4:42 left in the game. Clark came up big as her fourth three-pointer of the day put Drake up 65-62. Taylor Stewart made a layup at the 2:49 mark to push ISU back up at 65-64 and set up the wild ending. The game featured 12 lead changes.
Today was Senior Day for two Bulldogs, Alyssa Marschner (Plymouth, Minn.) and Mary Pat Specht (Shawnee, Kan.). Marschner has played in 103 games in her four seasons with 33 starts, and led the team in assists last season with 123. This year, she has a team-high 86 assists. Specht transferred to Drake after a standout junior college career at Johnson County Community College (Kan.). She has appeared in 43 games in her two seasons as a Bulldog and has made 51 three-pointers. Marschner, who holds a 3.41 cumulative GPA, has been selected three times to the MVC Commissioner’s Honor Roll and will graduate in May with a degree in marketing. Specht is also an outstanding student with a 3.68 cumulative GPA in health sciences. She was awarded the MVC Commissioner’s Excellence award last year. She will graduate in November, 2014.
Drake must wait for Missouri State (13-15, 8-9 MVC) and Wichita State to close out the conference regular season Sunday (March 9) afternoon in Wichita, Kan. to determine its seed for the MVC Championship next week, March 13-16, in St. Charles, Mo. The Bulldogs are currently one game ahead of the Lady Bears in the standings and if Missouri State loses to the Shockers, Drake is the number five seed in St. Charles and will play fourth-seeded Evansville on Friday, March 14 at 2:30 p.m.
If Missouri State wins tomorrow it moves into a tie for fifth with Drake. Since the two teams split this season the tie will be broken by a points system determined by the MVC office.