Two days after a thrilling comeback win over Indiana State, the Bradley women’s basketball team beat Evansville 81-63 for its seventh win of the conference season Sunday at Renaissance Coliseum.
Feb. 10 is the fastest the Braves have reached seven wins in the conference since the 2009-10 season.
The first quarter saw both teams trade baskets and struggle to contain each other on the defensive end. Bradley led 23-21 at the end of the period. It was the best scoring opening quarter for the Aces (2-20) since Dec. 2, 2018 at Morehead State.
Bradley head coach Andrea Gorski was not pleased with the Braves’ defensive effort for the first 10 minutes. Bradley responded by outscoring Evansville 32-7 in the second stanza.
“We were focused on a lot of offense [at the beginning],” sophomore forward Nyjah White said. “Defensively, we had to figure out how to play straight up man-to-man defense. Coach G got on us about that in the second quarter and we did a lot better with stopping them and playing together.”
Gorski was impressed with the way her team started offensively considering the dramatic rollercoaster turnaround win less than 48 hours before.
“I was worried about us being really flat today because it was an emotional crazy win on Friday,” Gorski said. “I was really worried about the team, but I shouldn’t have worried because they came out and had good energy and good focus.”
White nearly recorded a triple-double in 21 minutes of play off the bench, finishing with 15 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists. Junior Chelsea Brackman picked up her 10th double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
“[White] was running point guard half the time out there,” Gorski said. “They were trying to get out on our shooters a little bit and left a little space in there for her. She is finding her teammates really well and shot the ball very well.”
Those teammates drained 3-pointer after 3-pointer. The 11 makes are a season high for the Braves. Sophomore Gabi Haack failed to record a 3-point basket, ending her streak at 15 games.
After the second quarter Bradley had a firm grasp on the lead allowing many players on the roster to play extended minutes. Freshman Asia Strong took full advantage of her 10 minutes and recorded four points and five rebounds.
White was happy that her teammates knocked down shots and played together.
“I think it is good that we all keep our composure out there and a lot of confidence,” White said.
According to Gorski, the Braves will need to take full advantage of their current confidence and play good team basketball. They hit the road for two games at Southern Illinois and league leading Missouri State this weekend.
“We know them because we already played them once,” Gorski said. “Both [are] physical basketball teams and it is going to be very physical weekend. We gotta put our big girl pants on and have a good week of prep.”
The Braves will play the seventh place Salukis at 6 p.m. tonight in Carbondale.