The road trip to Iowa for the Bradley women’s basketball team didn’t quite turn out the way they wanted it to. The Braves were unable to extend their three-game win streak after losing to the top two teams in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Drake, who has yet to lose a conference game this season, routed Bradley 98-46 Sunday. The Braves struggled controlling the ball as they committed 22 turnovers, which led to 28 points for the Bulldogs.
Head coach Andrea Gorski noticed several things in the Drake game that they will need to tighten up for the MVC tournament, which is just a few weeks away.
“We’re not a very good passing team and [Drake] exploited that,” Gorski said. “They got out in the passing lanes in their zone and we turned the ball over. They did a good job of taking away our inside game early, so then we stopped going to it later. Just because a team is going to focus on that, you can’t forget about your inside game. If it’s not there early on, you still have to be committed to getting the ball inside.”
Bradley was without the MVC leading rebounder, senior Leti Lerma, who was out with an ankle injury. Gorski said Lerma’s status was day-to-day at this point and is hoping she’ll be able to return for tonight’s game against Missouri State.
Bradley has had their struggles in the first quarter this season and that problem reared its head again Friday night at Northern Iowa. The Braves were outscored 20-6 in the opening quarter and ultimately fell 70-50.
When asked about whether the offense or defense let the team down in the first, Gorski’s answer was straight to the point.
“Both,” Gorski said. “I thought [Northern Iowa] ‘out-physicaled’ us. We didn’t post hard, we didn’t cut hard, we didn’t screen hard, so we were settling for outside jumpers, which isn’t our strength. [Defensively], I thought we were a step slow, and we didn’t box out early … I thought we were a little too passive and not aggressive.”
Bradley returns home this weekend where they will host three of their final five regular season games. The Braves currently sit one game outside of the sixth spot in the MVC, which would allow them to have a bye on Thursday of the MVC tournament.
Junior guard Anneke Schlueter knows how important these next few games are and what her team needs to do to secure that top six spot.
“It’s about dominating the boards and just playing harder and playing with more heart,” Schlueter said. “That just wasn’t there against Drake.”
The Braves will host Missouri State at 7 p.m. tonight and will follow that up with a matchup against Wichita State at 2 p.m. Sunday afternoon.