Although the Braves have played well for stretches of time, they were missing that signature victory.
That changed last week with two wins by more than 25 points. Against Evansville, Bradley took an 11-0 lead before the Purple Aces were able to attempt a shot in a 78-52 victory.
“Tonight, I’ve felt like it was the first time that we were all on the same page when it came to executing the game plan,” Brooks said. “It wasn’t perfect, but it was as close to perfect as we’ve done up to this point. Even when we had breakdowns, we had heart and passion, and we were able to fix the things that we had breakdowns on.”
Senior Katie Yohn scored a season-high 21 points through six three-pointers in the win against Evansville. Sophomore Michelle Young and freshman Jenny Smith finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Saturday, the Braves held a 15-9 lead over Southern Illinois at the first media timeout in the first half. By halftime, Bradley used its full-court defense to extend its lead to 54-20.
“For us to get out to a fast start is critical,” Brooks said. “We were able to get out and really dictate the pace of the game. We got some steals and got good transition buckets. We put them on their heels to begin the game and they were really never able to recover because of that.”
Bradley’s win over the Salukis featured six different players scoring more than 10 points, while freshman Taylor Shull scored her first career points off of the bench.
“There have been a couple of games, and I’ve taken a few of shots and unfortunately I haven’t been able to have any fall in,” Shull said. “But to finally get those first points, I had a grin from ear-to-ear and I’m just happy to put some points up to help my team.”
The team learned Friday that junior Kelly Frings is out for the remainder of the season due to a torn ACL. Frings was averaging six points and rebounds per game in Missouri Valley Conference play.
Bradley heads into the second half of MVC action with a 3-6 record, one game behind third place. The Braves now head on a three-game road trip beginning against Missouri State Friday at 7 p.m.
“I don’t know how to explain it,” Shull said. “It’s good momentum, and good confidence to get these two wins at home back-to-back and just the kind of momentum that can push us through the second half of conference play.”