The Bradley women’s basketball team opened their 2017 season with a dominating 79-40 victory over Upper Iowa University. The Braves cruised through their only exhibition game on the season over the Division II foe.
The Braves started slow but used a 19-point run to take a 26-5 lead over the Peacocks late in the first quarter. The run was fueled by nine points from freshman guard Gabi Haack as she sank three shots from beyond the arc.
Head coach Andrea Gorski said Haack allowed the Braves to break open the game.
“Haack came in and just started knocking down threes,” Gorski said. “[Upper Iowa] had to stretch out their defense a little more, and we were able to get some easy buckets inside.”
Haack finished the game with 12 points, two assists and two rebounds.
After the 19-point run, the Braves didn’t look back as they eventually led by 32 at halftime and came out with the 39-point victory.
The Braves got a big contribution from freshman guard Jailynn Lawson, who put up 15 points and five assists. Lawson said it was satisfying to find success in her first collegiate game.
“It’s exciting,” Lawson said. “It is something we have been waiting a long time for.”
Lawson, a Peoria native, said playing in her hometown provides extra motivation.
“Being from the area makes me go harder,” Lawson said. “I have at least 15 people at every game supporting me.”
Gorski said her newcomers have proven to be dangerous for other team’s defenses so far but still have work to do.
“Our new kids can score, we know that,” Gorski said. “We need to buckle down on defense a little bit.”
The Braves fouled the Peacocks 28 times throughout the game. Gorski said the team needs to work on limiting those fouls on the defensive side of the ball.
“We have got to clean that up with Omaha coming in to play us,” Gorski said. “They are a much quicker team than Upper Iowa, and we need to be able to defend without fouling.”
Bradley finished tied with the Peacocks in the rebound column with 37. Gorski said she was impressed with team’s offensive performance but would like to see better rebounding from her team.
“We had 13 people score, and the 22 assists were outstanding,” Gorski said. “We definitely need to work on our rebounding by being more aggressive on the boards.”
Overall, Gorski said the exhibition game was helpful for the team early in the season.
“Being able to try different line-ups throughout the game was beneficial,” Gorski said. “We feel good with some of the versatility we have as a team.”
The team will take the court next tonight at 7 p.m. as they host Nebraska-Omaha at Renaissance Coliseum.