Indiana State withstands Bulldogs to keep pace

DES MOINES – The three-way race atop the Missouri Valley Conference remains a dead heat.

Indiana State outlasted the Drake women’s basketball team 73-71 at the Knapp Center Thursday to stay even with Wichita State and Northern Iowa in the MVC standings.

Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir made a layup with 2:18 to play and drew the foul to give the Sycamores a 71-68 lead. Caitlin Ingle made two free throws to cut Drake’s deficit down to one, but the Bulldogs (14-14, 8-9) couldn’t make another field goal down the stretch.

Qaadir, who scored a team-high 23 points, made two more free throws with 14 seconds left to push the lead back to three. Kyndal Clark got to the line with 4.3 ticks left and made her first free throw before intentionally missing the second, though Indiana State (18-10, 13-4) secured the rebound to clinch its fifth straight win.

“Tonight is another tough game. We’ve lost two games now by two points, one in overtime and one that came down to the wire. But we’re making progress,” Drake head coach Jennie Baranczyk said.

“We’re not quite there yet. We have a few things we need to get better, but the thing I can appreciate about this team is we’re still hungry and we’re still ready to continue to get better and we’re not done playing.”

Clark led the Bulldogs with 28 points and Lizzy Wendell added 20 as Drake overcame a 72-perent shooting effort by Indiana State in the first half. Trailing 48-41 at the break, the Bulldogs used a 23-14 spurt to lead 64-62 with 6:38 left – their first advantage since midway through the opening half.

Clark’s four three-pointers moved her season total to 104 – tying the MVC record. Wendell shot 10-for-11 at the line as Drake finished 16-for-19 overall. Indiana State hit a season-best 10 3-pointers, but made just two after intermission.

The Bulldogs, tied for fifth in the conference with Missouri State and Illinois State, play their final home game Saturday against Illinois State before heading to the MVC tournament. Tip-off with the Redbirds is set for 2:05 p.m.