The women’s basketball team entertained Division III Eureka College in a Saturday matinee and out rebounding it by 40 to set the largest rebounding margin in Bradley basketball history. The Braves led from start to finish and claimed the victory 101-39. Bradley led in every statistical category other than free throw makes; Eureka flipped in one more.
Bradley had the natural height advantage and it proved to be the deciding factor. Following a game at Michigan in which Bradley was overmatched in the size department, it put the hurt on the visiting 5-foot 6-inch Red Devils.
All 12 Braves on the roster recorded a basket from the field. Senior Amber Bozeman, a deep reserve, notched her first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds in 18 minutes of play. Meanwhile, 6-foot 2-inch freshman Veronika Roberts joined the party with 12 points and 10 rebounds in 21 minutes of action.
Bozeman, now a captain in her fourth year, was happy to get into the game and see her name fill-up the stat sheet.
“I thought it was great for everyone to get some minutes,” Bozeman said. “I learned to play my role the last three years, so it’s just awesome that I can get out there and impact the game.”
Freshman Spaniard Violeta Verano dished out 10 assists, the first being the first of her career. Her 10 assists are the most for a Brave in a single game since 2009. Fellow freshman, Mahri Petree, led all scorers with 16 points before fouling out with 2:53 remaining in the game.
Bozeman said she has trust in the youth and what they can do now and in future games.
“The freshmen are awesome,” Bozeman said. “I know it’s nerve-wracking at first but they don’t play like freshmen, they’re getting [the hang of college basketball].”
Bradley recorded 27 more assists than Eureka, something head coach Andrea Gorski was proud of.
“The biggest thing is we had 32 assists on 41 field goals, I like that,” Gorski said. “I like when we got up big here we still played team basketball.”
Petree echoed her coach’s statement.
“I think we moved the ball, which opened up the floor [for everyone to get their shot],” Petree said.
And those shots fell at 55 percent clip.
The Braves simply dominated from start to finish. The starting five played 32 percent of the game, while the bench combined for 72 points.
Gorski said she was pleased to have usual bench players see extended periods of game action.
“They deserve it,” Gorski said. “We had a short bench against Michigan so it was nice to get everyone in today.”
Bradley rushed out of the gate by winning the opening tip and scoring on the first possession. The Braves led 25-6 after the first quarter and 44-11 at the half.
As has been evident early on this season, Bradley likes to run and score in transition. It had 21 fast break points compared to Eureka’s zero. It also blocked five shots and forced 20 turnovers.
Bradley also dominated from beyond the 3-point line finishing with 14 makes at 42.4 percent. It held Eureka to 3-24 from behind the arc. In two previous games this season, Bradley shot 28 percent from deep.
“It was also good to see us shoot the three-ball well,” Gorski said. “That’s good going into Wednesday’s game at Western [Illinois] because they are pretty good zone team.”
The Braves will get back to Division I competition when they travel to take on in-state rival Western Illinois at 5:30 on Wednesday. The Leathernecks (3-1) beat Missouri Valley Conference foe Indiana State 83-72 on Thursday. It is paced by senior guard Olivia Kaufmann who averages 21.3 points per contest.