By beating Wichita State 56-51 in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament, the Braves not only snapped the Shockers’ nine-game conference tournament winning streak, but they also won their first MVC tournament game in four years.
By playing a defensive game, the Braves and head coach Michael Brooks were in their element, but Brooks said it was offense that won the day.
“I thought we played some decent offense,” Brooks said. “I liked how we attacked the rim, [and] got to the free throw line.”
Bradley shot 47 percent from the field in their win over Wichita State, which was their best field goal percentage of the season.
This win comes after a three game losing streak struggling toward the end of the season.
“I thought it was a really hard fought game,” Brooks said. “After the last three games we’ve had, we didn’t play so well … I’m really proud of how we responded today, especially with an opportunity to beat a team three times.”
Sophomore Tamya Sims led the Braves with 11 points, and Sophomore Leti Lerma recorded a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.
However, Brooks sang the praises for two of the team’s seniors.
“[Senior Kat Yelle] played extremely well,” Brooks said. “Leti and [Sims] gave us big minutes, and [senior guard] Sameia Kendall I thought was a really big boost for us.”
Yelle and Kendall combined for 15 points and each played 39 and 31 minutes out of 40, respectively.
The Braves started out the game slow, but led 11-9 after the first quarter.
In the second, Bradley used a 12-0 run spanning over five minutes to lead 25-23, but Wichita State closed the gap to a five point lead at halftime.
“We wanted to force them to shoot as many threes as possible,” Brooks said. “I loved our defense in the first half. Second half, I thought we got a little lax in our principles.”
In the second half, the Braves held a comfortable lead near the end of final two quarters, but the Shockers were able to cut down the Bradley lead to four.
However, time ran out on Wichita State’s season, who finishes with a 8-22 record with the loss to Bradley.
The Braves (9-21) move on to play MVC regular season champ Northern Iowa tomorrow at noon.
“I’m excited to see the passion,” Brooks said. “We’ve got to get a game plan that’s tight, that’s sound, [and] we’ve got to force UNI into doing things they don’t want to do.”