The Bradley women’s basketball team was able to collect its second and third straight wins in a row over the weekend, capping the weekend Sunday afternoon with a 54-41 win over Indiana State. In a defensive battle, the Braves took only a three-point lead into halftime. The women then proceeded to hold the Sycamores to only 17 second half points, thanks in large part to Bradley’s ability to hold ISU’s leading scorer, Ashley Taia, to a lowly three points.
“We had [senior] Leti [Lerma] on her a little bit, and [junior] Dani [Brewer], so [there were] some bigger guards on her,” head coach Andrea Gorski said. “From there, we kept her off the boards, so she couldn’t get anything easy. I think it was a combination of just putting different people on her, and we were able to switch a lot of screens, too.”
Brewer had a career high with 18 points against the Sycamores as she paced the Braves’ offense, shooting 4-6 from behind the 3-point arc. Lerma also contributed 11 points and 16 rebounds, which was good enough for her ninth double-double on the season.
The Braves defeated Loyola last Friday night 72-45 as the team shot nearly 61 percent from the field in the first half.
Sophomore forward Vanessa Markert poured in a career high 26 points, shooting 10-14 from the field, while junior guard Anneke Schlueter added 16 points. The Braves used their size to out-rebound the Ramblers 49-31 and also outscored them 34-20 in the paint.
Gorski said she didn’t think they did anything special in the first half – it was just a matter of “hitting their shots.”
“We usually get open looks early in the game; it’s whether we knock them down or not,” Gorski said. “We’ve got to be able to have confidence whether we miss that first one or not. Sometimes we get tight, and it leads to another easy miss and another. Against Loyola, we hit our first several shots, and it just gave us more confidence the next time down on offense.”
The three-game win streak for the Braves is the first one they’ve had since March 2013. Along with the three game win streak, Bradley has also won four of its last five. Even with the success the team has had, Gorski is trying to keep her team in the right mentality.
“[Winning] establishes ‘we’re moving in the right direction,’” Gorski said. “It gives the kids a little more confidence, but you can’t let up. We talked a lot yesterday about our individual weaknesses and our team weaknesses … You have to keep getting better. For the second half of the conference [play], a lot of it is going to come down to people making plays and what team is more mentally tough.”
Bradley will look to add onto that win streak this weekend as they travel to Iowa to face off against the two best teams in the MVC ‒ Northern Iowa and Drake.
“We have to be mentally tough,” Gorski said. “We can’t accept losing. Our expectations are to go in to win. The more mentally tough team will win. Just focusing on that and stuff that we can control on the road, and that’s toughness, physically and mentally and playing hard all the time.”
Bradley will play at Northern Iowa at 7 p.m. today and will face Drake at 2 p.m. Sunday.