A new year produced a similar result in Peoria when Bradley women’s basketball dropped an evening matchup with the Drake Bulldogs on Sunday.
The Braves (3-10, 0-2 MVC) entered halftime down five until a chilling eight-point third quarter doomed the team against their second conference foe this season.
Leading the effort for Bradley was junior Isis Fitch and sophomore Alex Rouse. The former added 11 points and nine boards for the Braves while the latter went 8-10 at the charity stripe to spearhead the scoring column with 12.
On the winning side, Drake (6-4, 1-1 MVC) used a pair of 18-point performances from Maggie Bair and Grace Berg to cruise to a second half victory. Six Bulldogs added five or more boards to help seal the 50-34 rebounding advantage.
Both teams dealt with difficulties at the basket to start the game as neither group shot over 35 percent in the opening frame. Drake was first on the board and maintained their advantage as they closed the first quarter with a 13-12 lead.
Sophomore guard Caroline Waite helped get Bradley its first lead as she found fellow sophomore Callie Ziebell for a layup to give the Braves a 14-13 advantage.
As it turned out, that lead became short-lived when Berg answered with a jumper on the other end to give the Bulldogs a lead that Bradley would never reclaim.
Drake meshed into a 14-3 run but the Braves pestered some more. The scrappy effort helped Bradley shrink their deficit at the half to five.
A familiar third-quarter showing reared its ugly head yet again out of the break as the Braves endured a 19-4 Bulldog run to begin the period. Bradley shot below 27 percent in the frame and connected on just four of their 15 shots, including an 0-6 mark from beyond the arc.
Drake swelled the lead from that point on, eventually cruising to an 87-58 win to start the new year.
In the troubling third frame, Bradley’s 3-point defense missed the mark on multiple occasions. During the Bulldogs run, Drake capitalized by cashing in four treys out of their first five field goals coming out of the tunnel.
Holding a 19-point advantage as the fourth quarter began, Drake muscled their way to the line to grow the lead even more. Shooting 11-13 at the stripe in the final frame put away any chance the Braves had at a comeback.
If Bradley is to break their five-game losing skid, they’ll have to do so at the Banterra Center in Carbondale against the Southern Illinois Salukis. That game takes place Thursday at 6 p.m.