The Bradley women’s basketball team had an opportunity to jump into fourth place in the MVC standings with a win over Wichita State on Sunday afternoon.
However, the Braves squandered that opportunity with a 76-69 loss, keeping them in seventh place.
Wichita State shot 50 percent from behind the three-point line (7-14), which was a big step up from the 32 percent they’ve shot from long distance this season. Even with the Shockers’ great shooting night, the Braves were within striking distance until the end.
Head coach Andrea Gorski said she thought the women gave away too many easy opportunities.
“We missed a lot of layups and we missed free throws,” Gorski said. “That was what was discouraging. We had a chance to tie it in the fourth quarter, and we missed a layup. We’re down three and we miss a free throw. Free throws and layups. We worked hard on layups [this week in practice].”
Sophomore forward Vanessa Markert led the Braves with 16 points while junior guard Anneke Schlueter and senior forward Leti Lerma each contributed 14 points.
Friday night, Bradley picked up the season sweep over Missouri State with a 62-56 win. Schlueter paced the Braves with 22 points, 18 of which came in the second half, while Lerma had 21 points and 17 rebounds after missing last Sunday with an ankle injury.
Along with the offensive outbursts by Schlueter and Lerma, Gorski attributed the win to the defense, which held Missouri State’s top players to minimal damage.
“I think we kept their two guards in check, which was a big key,” Gorski said. “It’s hard to do that in two games … Then I thought we didn’t give them a lot of open threes. They beat us on the boards a little bit, but we didn’t panic and we made plays.
With three games left on the season, Bradley sits a half-game behind Southern Illinois for the sixth seed as the MVC tournament approaches. The Braves will take on the Salukis on Sunday afternoon, but have a matchup with Evansville beforehand.
“We’ve got our hands full on Friday with [Evansville],” Gorski said. “They’re a hard team to play because they switch all their screens. And you say, ‘Oh, that’s great because you can get our 6’2” posts on their little guards,’ but they clog [the lane] so much. So that’s what we’re working on. If they clog it in, we’ve got to be able to skip the ball and hit some shots from the outside.”
Bradley plays at 7p.m. tonight at Evansville and then 2 p.m. Sunday at Southern Illinois.