Poor shooting dooms Braves against top team in MVC

Poor shooting and numerous turnovers kept the Braves from competing with the Missouri Valley Conference-leading Northern Iowa Panthers, losing 58-34.

Despite a defensive effort that kept one of the nation’s top scoring team to a 33 percent shooting percentage, the Braves shot a pedestrian 19 percent from the field; only sophomore guard Katie Yohn reaching double digit points with 11.

The 34 points scored by Bradley is the lowest total all season and the fewest allowed by Northern Iowa since 1974.

“We couldn’t get into a flow offensively,” coach Paula Buscher said. “We were just struggling to find the basket.”

After senior guard Raisa Taylor cut the lead to 8-7 at the 14 minute mark, the Panthers went on a 13-2 run for the next four minutes.

After a 27-7 Panthers’ run to close out the half, the Braves played catch-up for the rest of the game.

UNI’s Lizzie Boeck led all players with 16 points, eight rebounds and three blocks. Boeck’s all-around game illustrated a well-balanced attack by the Panthers.

Panthers’ guard Jacqui Kalin also out-scored all Bradley players with 14 points.

Leading scorer Yohn was held to 4-19 from the field. Most of Yohn’s points came in a second half where the closest the Braves came to the Panthers was 44-24 in the half’s early minutes.

“We did alright for a while,” Buscher said. “We took some good shots but we have to knock down some of those shots. But I’d have those same kids taking those shots again.”

From there on out, the Panthers maintained at least a 20 point lead throughout the second half.

While the missed shots did the Braves in, the 25 turnovers Bradley committed made sure a comeback was not going to happen.

“We need to do better on running through our passes,” Buscher said. “We work too hard to give the ball right back to them.”

Even though they combined for nine turnovers, Yohn and Taylor spearheaded an impressive rebounding performance. With eight and seven rebounds respectively, the guard duo led the team in an effort to out-rebound the Panthers 45-44.

Collectively, the Braves held the Panthers well below Northern Iowa’s usual offensive effort. Over the three games prior to the meeting with the Braves, the Panthers were averaging 79 points per contest.

The Panthers’ 58 point total was a season low, but was enough to extend their winning streak to seven games.

The loss ended the Braves’ first conference winning streak at two.

Bradley’s road trip continues tonight against Missouri State, which currently sits at second place in the MVC. After a game at Wichita State Feb. 6, the Braves will return home against Drake on Feb. 10.