Drake Women’s Basketball Advances To MVC Tournament Title Game
ST. CHARLES, Mo. – The fifth-seeded Drake University women’s basketball team (17-14) rallied to beat top-seeded Indiana State, 66-58, to advance to the championship game of the 2014 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament at The Family Arena. Drake will square off with second-seeded Wichita State (25-6) on Sunday at 2:07 p.m.
Sunday’s title contest will be cleared on FOX Sports Midwest, FOX Sports Indiana, FOX Sports Kansas City, FOX College Sports, Comcast SportsNet Chicago and ESPN3 outside the league’s five-state footprint of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri.
You can also listen to Larry Cotlar and former Drake player Ashleigh Brady call the action on 1350 KRNT. Live stats will be available at www.GoDrakeBulldogs.com.
- Drake, who trailed Indiana State 32-27 at halftime, came out of the locker room on fire in the second half with a 10-0 scoring run, which included Kyndal Clark’s (Webb City, Mo.) first three-pointer of the game to take a 37-32 lead, a lead they would not relinquish.
- Drake held Indiana State (20-11) scoreless for the first four minutes of the half and forced four turnovers as the Sycamores finished just 11-of-40 from the floor and 2-of-14 from the three-point line in the final 20 minutes. For the game, Indiana State was 23-of-71 (32.4 percent) from the field and just 5-of-25 (20 percent) from three-point range.
- Clark and freshman Lizzy Wendell (Blue Springs, Mo.) led all scorers with 20 points apiece, with Clark pouring in 18 points in the second half. Wendell did most of her damage in the first half with 13 points as she fouled out late and played just 27 minutes.
- Caitlin Ingle (Runnells, Iowa) added 10 points, a game-high seven assists and five rebounds. Redshirt junior Carly Grenfell (York, Neb.) had six points, seven rebounds and three steals off the bench for the Bulldogs.
- Indiana State made things interesting in the final minutes, closing to within four points on three separate occasions, but the Bulldogs answered at the free-throw line, making their last eight free throws to hold on for the win and advance to the MVC title game for the second time in three seasons.
- In 2012, seventh-seeded Drake beat No. 10 Evansville in the play-in game then knocked off No. 2 and No. 3 Illinois State and Wichita State in the quarterfinals and semifinals, respectively, to advance to the title game against the fourth-seeded Creighton Bluejays.
- Drake has won five MVC Tournament titles, the first four (1995, 1997, 1998 and 2000) all happened in Springfield, Mo. with the last occurring at the Knapp Center in 2007. That was the final on-campus MVC Tournament as it moved to St. Charles, Mo. in 2008.
- The Bulldogs have five MVC Tournament runner-up finishes (2001, 2002, 2004, 2008, 2012).
- Drake ended the 2013-14 regular season taking eight out of its final 11 games, with the losses to co-champions, Indiana State and Wichita State and third-place UNI.
- The hot finish helped the Bulldogs clinch the fifth seed for the tournament their highest seed since they secured the No. 3 seed for the 2009 MVC Championship.
- The last time the No. 2 and No. 5 seeds met in the MVC title game was 2010 second-seeded Creighton was upset by the fifth-seeded UNI Panthers in a one-point thriller (54-53).
- Clark led the conference in scoring this year at 19.6 points per game, while Wendell ranked fifth at 16.1 points per game. Clark was selected the 2014 Jackie Stiles MVC Player of the Year, while Wendell was tabbed Co-MVC Freshman of the Year with Sara Dickey of Evansville.
- Clark has been prolific from beyond the arc this year with a school and MVC record 114 three-pointers, including setting a new Drake single-game mark with 10 against Loyola on Jan. 24. Her 112 three-pointers surpassed the previous record of 104 that Melody Howard of Missouri State hit during the 1993-94 campaign.
- The all-time NCAA women’s basketball single-season record for three’s is 126 held by two players (Lisa McMullen, Alabama State, 1991 and Sade Logan, Robert Morris, 2008).
- Clark’s 3.72 three’s per game average led the nation going into the tournament.
- Wendell, who joined exclusive Valley company by scoring 400-plus points in her debut season, currently has 516 points to set a record for most points by a Drake freshman in a MVC season. Carla Bennett held the previous mark of 423 points in 1999-2000.
- The last time a Drake freshman scored 500 or more points in their first campaign was 1980-81 when Kay Riek had 517 points. Drake was not in a conference that season.
- Wendell was the only player in The Valley ranked in the top-20 in each of the following statistical categories: scoring, rebounding, field-goal percentage, assists, blocks, free-throw percentage, steals, three-point shooting percentage, and three-pointers per game.
- Wendell averaged 22.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.5 assists in the final week of the season to capture her league-leading eighth MVC newcomer of the week accolade.
- Drake light up the scoreboard during the regular season as it paced the league in scoring at 72.0 points per game. The Bulldogs also led the MVC in scoring in league play at 74.3 points per game. Drake has tallied 90-plus points in four games in 2013-14.
- This is the seventh straight-season that the MVC Women's Basketball Tournament has been played on a neutral site. Previously, institutional home arenas were utilized as hosts for the first 22 conference tournaments. Just six Division I conferences host stand-alone women's basketball tournaments (Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, SEC, Pac-12 and MVC).
- Drake has won 35 MVC tournament games, which ranks second only to Missouri State who has won 37 games.
- Clark and Wendell were selected to the All-MVC first team, while Caitlin Ingle (Runnells, Iowa) joined Wendell on the All-MVC Freshman team, the league announced Wednesday.
- Wichita State claimed a share of the regular season MVC title with Indiana State, but were seeded second for the tournament as the Sycamores edged the Shockers in the league tiebreaker.
- The Shockers knocked off Illinois State a year ago at The Family Arena to claim their first MVC tournament title in school history. Wichita State edged Illinois State this year in the semifinals this year to advance to the title game.
- Alex Harden, the 2014 MVC Defensive Player of the Year, leads the team in scoring at 16.9 points per game. Harden was 2013 MVC Jackie Stiles Player of the Year.
DRAKE VS. WICHITA STATE
The championship tilt will be the 75th, in the all-time series between the Shockers and the Bulldogs. Drake holds a 46-27 advantage including a 6-1 record in conference tournament games. Wichita State has won nine of the last 10 contests. Drake’s last win in the series was in the semifinals of the 2012 MVC Championship in St. Charles, Mo.