A strong end to the fourth quarter allowed Drake to hand Bradley a 71-56 road loss in the Missouri Valley Conference opener for both teams on Friday afternoon in Des Moines.
Drake utilized a 13-0 run in the closing frame to convert a 55-51 lead to a 68-51 advantage with just under four minutes remaining. Grace Berg tallied 12 points and Monica Burich added 11 points to lead the way for the Bulldogs.
Bradley was hampered by an ice-cold performance from the field, converting only 21 of 73 attempts. The Braves made a mere 5 of 28 attempted three-point shots.
“It’s way too many threes, didn’t work the ball inside enough, just overall not gonna win many games shooting 28% from the three point line,” Bradley head coach Andrea Gorski said. “But I just thought that we were not disciplined enough [on offense], especially in the second half.”
Junior Lasha Petree led the way for the Braves in scoring, the fourth time she has done so this season. Her 14 points were complemented by an 11-point outing from junior Tatum Koenig and a 10-point effort from senior Nyjah White.
The Braves played in front of a live crowd for the first time this season, as a small number of fans were allowed inside the Knapp Center to watch the game.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the MVC was forced to alter its schedule to include two-day doubleheaders throughout the conference schedule. Thus, the Braves and Bulldogs will meet again Saturday at noon.
“You have to be mentally tough,” Gorski said. “So it’s something that, you know, we’ve talked about, we’re gonna watch film, we’re gonna talk about it tonight, but then we’ve gotta turn the page and kind of do it quickly. You can’t really bring any negative thoughts into the game tomorrow, it’s who can turn the page the quickest, who can recover the quickest.”
Gorski said that the recovery process will include Theragun treatment, puffy pants, ice baths and stretching at the team hotel.
Saturday’s game is scheduled to tip-off at noon and will be available on ESPN+.