Drake women denied in bid for first MVC win

DES MOINES – A new starting lineup yielded the same, unfortunate result for the Drake women’s basketball team.

The Bulldogs made eight 3-pointers with their three-guard lineup but could not overtake Illinois State, falling 71-66 on Sunday to remain winless in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Drake (5-10, 0-4) surged to an eight-point lead, 60-52, with 8:23 to play before the visiting Redbirds used a 13-0 run to regain the lead for good. Janae Smith’s layup with 4:13 left put Illinois State (11-5, 3-1) out front to stay.

Candance Sykes scored 19 points off the bench to lead Illinois State, while Smith finished with 16 points and Alexis Jenkins had 12.

Kyndal Clark had 20 points to pace Drake, making two 3-pointers while contributing eight rebounds. Morgan Reid filled the stat sheet with 12 points, 10 rebounds and six assists, and Mary Pat Specht had three treys and finished with 10 points in her first start.

Carly Grenfell added three 3s for nine points, and freshman Ashley Bartow had four points and six boards upon her insertion into the starting lineup.

“I loved our motion offense and thought we did a great job executing it,” said Drake coach Jennie Baranczyk. “We still need to do a better job of attacking early in the shot clock so we aren’t scrambling at the end but that will come with maturity and time.”

The Bulldogs go on the road Saturday in search of their first MVC win with a trip to Missouri State.