Shockers pull away from Drake

ST. CHARLES, Mo. – After a few second-half adjustments, Wichita State played like the favorite it is in the Missouri Valley Conference tournament on Friday during action against the Drake Bulldogs.

The Shockers led the Bulldogs by two at halftime, but outscored Drake by 13 points in the final 20 minutes and cruised to the 73-58 win during quarterfinal action at Family Arena.

The Shockers used runs of 15-0 and 17-1 in the final 20 minutes to gain control and never looked back in advancing to the MVC tournament semifinals.

“We changed some things defensively,” Wichita State coach Jody Adams said. “They adjusted and adapted to what the coaches were asking them to do on both sides of the ball.

“Our style takes a lot of energy. We’re flying around and rotating, which takes a lot of energy.”

Wichita State (22-9) will face Northern Iowa in today’s semifinals. The Panthers beat Indiana State for the third time this season in another quarterfinal.

“This was a game of two halves,” Drake coach Jennie Baranczyk said. “Even though we shot the ball well in the first half, we didn’t shoot well in the second half. Overall, obviously, we played the No. 1 team in our conference. They are a great team with great balance.”

Three different Shockers scored 15 points and another added 10 in the win. Wichita State shot 47 percent from the floor and dominated the paint while scoring 28 points off 20 Drake turnovers.

“They are a great defensive team,” Baranczyk said. “They are a more athletic team than we are, they are bigger than we are, but at the end of the first half our team had a choice. They could have either folded or fought back and we fought back.”

Drake got 11 points each from Carly Grenfell and Liza Heap but the Shockers held Kyndal Clark to just six points. The Bulldogs did bury 10 3-pointers but the miscues and Wichita’s ability to control the boards led to the final game of the season for first-year coach Baranczyk.

“They created a lot of points with their defense,” Baranczyk said. “They are also a senior-dominated team and when you have seniors that have gone through a lot of different experiences, they are much more seasoned team than we are.”

Wichita State outscored the Bulldogs 36-10 in the paint, scored 17 second-chance points and won the rebounding battle 38-28.

All-MVC first-team selection Alex Harden, Chynna Turner and Michaela Dapprich all scored 15 points to lead the Shockers, while Michelle Price added 10 off the bench. Price and Harden grabbed nine and eight rebounds, respectively, and Harden dished out three assists in the win.

“It helps to build momentum to start the first half of the next game like we finished in the second half,” Harden said of the Shockers big second half. “We just have to start with our defense.”

The Bulldogs ended their season 11-20, but the bulk of Drake’s team will be back next season.

Clark, Grenfell and Cara Lutes are all sophomores, while Morgan Reid (10 points), Alyssa Marschner and Mary Pat Specht are all juniors and Ashley Bartow is a freshman. Stephanie Running is the only senior on the roster.

“We’re young, that’s very evident,” Clark said. “We lost one person, and we have new people coming in that are going to do great things. So I guess now we’re starting to look forward and starting to look to the future. It’s going to be great as we make it. I think we’re going to do great things. I think people are going to be shocked at what we can do.”