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Women power past Bears

Freshman Ryan Wilkins is averaging 3.1 points and 1.1 rebounds per game in her first year at Bradley. photo by Justin Limoges
Freshman Ryan Wilkins is averaging 3.1 points and 1.1 rebounds per game in her first year at Bradley. photo by Justin Limoges

The Bradley women’s basketball team had a rough start to their weekend road trip. Bradley dropped their first game of the weekend on Friday night at Wichita State, 65-54. Junior Anneke Schlueter poured in 22 points and sophomore Vanessa Markert added 13 off the bench, but it wasn’t enough to give the Braves the win.

The Braves trailed the Shockers by five heading into the fourth quarter where they ended up scoring only nine points and ultimately lost by 11. Head coach Andrea Gorski attributed the offensive struggles to being “tentative.”

“We weren’t shooting with confidence,” Gorski said. “They came up and pressured us and instead of attacking it, we let the traps rattle us a little bit. But really, just didn’t’ shoot the ball well. They’re a really aggressive defensive team. Really athletic. And we had some wide open shots and just didn’t knock them down.”

The road trip turned around for the Braves on Sunday, however as the team gutted out a 75-73 overtime win over Missouri State. Markert had another great game off the bench contributing 17 points, while freshman Alona Johnson and junior Danielle Brewer each scored 15.

Once again, the Braves found themselves trailing heading into the fourth quarter. This time though, they were able to complete the comeback as they outscored the Bears 18-12 in the fourth and 9-7 in OT. Gorski said that the key to winning the game was the team understanding what their role were.

“We just said whatever your ‘superpower’ is, just focus on that,” Gorski said. “You don’t have to take over the world in a day. If you just focus on what you bring to this team, and everyone does that at the same time, then we are capable of winning a tough road game … I thought that whatever their ‘superpower’ was, they brought it and stepped up.”

On another note, Leti Lerma climbed into the top 10 in Bradley history for rebounds in a career and this past weekend she reached 672 to put her into the 8 spot. With less than a year here at the Hilltop, Gorski has already realized what Lerma brings to this team.

“She gets the most out her size and her abilities,” Gorski said. “That’s all you ask from a player. You max out your potential and your effort … She has a knack for finding the ball and she’s not afraid. She’s fearless. To be a good rebounder, you have to be fearless and she is.”

The Braves now return home for four-game home stand starting this Friday when Bradley will host Southern Illinois at 7 p.m. With SIU being where Gorski has spent the past three years of her coaching career at, she has a high anticipation for this game.

“I really look up to a lot that they’ve done at that program in the last three years,” Gorski said. “They went from five wins to 20 in three years and that’s something we want to do here. It would be a great step forward. I know we’re riding a little more confidence coming off a tough road win at Missouri State. More than anything it’s about our team and about us riding that confidence and getting to two in a row.”

Bradley will also play on Sunday at 11 a.m. as they welcome the Aces from Evansville.

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