No. 24 Shockers rally past Drake women

DES MOINES – Drake’s halftime lead wouldn’t hold up Friday at the Knapp Center.

The Bulldog women’s basketball led by one at the break but 24th ranked Wichita State remained undefeated in Missouri Valley Conference play following its 70-61 win.

Alex Harden, the MVC preseason player of the year, had 22 points, eight assists and seven rebounds for the Shockers, who are now 21-2 overall and 12-0 in conference play.

Two other Wichita State players scored in double-figures as Michelle Price had 13 points and five rebounds, while Alie Decker chipped in 13 points and five boards off the bench.

Decker hit four 3-pointers in the game as Wichita State was 6-of-18 from long range in the game.

Drake got 20 points, nine rebounds and five assists from freshman Lizzy Wendell and Kyndal Clark scored 18 points despite making just 5-of-14 from the floor.

Freshman Caitlin Ingle also chipped in 10 points, five rebounds and three steals as the Bulldogs dropped to 11-12 overall and 5-7 in MVC play.

The loss by Drake snapped the Bulldogs’ four-game winning streak.

“I’m really proud of how we came out against Wichita State tonight,” said Drake coach Jennie Baranczyk. “They are a very good basketball program, obviously with 21 wins already this season. They are number one in our conference, but the biggest thing for us is we have to continue to get better and that’s something we will continue to aspire to.”

Clark hit the first bucket of the game for the Bulldogs, her 75th 3-pointer of the year. Clark now has 78 3-pointers, which is the fourth-most in program history and is just 12 away from the top single-season mark set by former Drake standout Kiersten Miller back in 1996-97.

Drake led 26-25 at halftime and Wendell and Clark combined for 12 of Drake’s 14 points to open the second half as the Bulldogs grabbed a 40-36 lead with just more than 15 minutes to play.

However, Wichita State used a 15-2 scoring run to take a 51-42 advantage with just more than 10 minutes remaining.

After the teams traded baskets, Ingle nailed her first 3-pointer to trim the deficit to six points at 53-47, but the Shockers answered with a Kelsey Jacob bucket.

“We had the opportunities, but we just couldn’t get the shots to fall,” said Baranczyk. “I’m not disappointed because we didn’t turn the ball over and we didn’t panic, it was just we missed a couple of shots. They are a great basketball team. Give them credit, but at the same time we aren’t going to hang our heads. This team is going to remain hungry.”

Two free throws by Wendell put the Bulldogs back to within six points at 55-49 at the 8:18 mark.

That would be as close as Drake would get the rest of the way, as a scoring drought that lasted more than 4 minutes allowed Wichita State to go up by 14 points.

Junior Liza Heap had six points, five rebounds and three assists in a career-high 40 minutes.

Drake committed just 12 turnovers after committing 22 in the first meeting earlier this season.

The Bulldogs close the weekend with their annual “Hoops 4 Hope” game presented by Mercy Medical Center, taking on Missouri State on Sunday.

Tipoff is scheduled for 2:07 p.m.