Friday, January 26, 2018

Bradley Women's Basketball falls to Northern Iowa; hosts league-leading Drake Sunday

Bradley's Vanessa Markert attempts a free throw in a file photo from earlier this season. The junior finished with a team-high 12 points in the Bradley loss. PHOTO / MIKE ROEDELL
Peoria, IL - The Bradley Braves (10-9) (4-4) returned home Friday night against Northern Iowa (9-10) (5-3), just five days after a 117-59 blowout win over Evansville. The 117-point effort was the third most points in a Missouri Valley women's basketball game by a single team. The Braves just couldn't find that rhythm they were in at Evansville against Northern Iowa.

The Braves only led for 17 seconds in the first quarter, that lead coming off a jump shot from Danielle Brewer to make it 4-2 in favor of the Braves at the 6:27 mark of the opening quarter. That would be the only leading the Braves would do in this one. After a quarter of play, the visiting Panthers were out in front, 12-6.

The second quarter was Bradley's best of the game. Vanessa Markert had her best quarter as well, scoring five of her team-high 12 in the second. Four other Braves also hit the scoring column, and Bradley would be within 26-20 at the halftime break.

Coming out of halftime, neither team was shooting particularly well, as the Braves and Panthers combined for 17 points in the third quarter, with the visitors outscoring Bradley, 9-8. Northern Iowa was able to push the game to a 10-point lead over the hosts towards the end of the quarter, when Ellie Howell made a layup to put the Panthers ahead 35-25. She would go on to lead UNI and the game in scoring with 16 points.

The fourth quarter was when Northern Iowa truly started to pull away. The Braves were able to stay fairly close throughout, but the Panthers were able to get their largest lead of the game with just 25 second the go, the end of a stretch where Bradley needed to intentionally foul to keep their chances of winning alive. In the end, Northern Iowa came out on top, 51-40.

After the game, Bradley's Head Coach Andrea Gorski thought it was two things that kept her team out of this one, particularly shots from behind the arc. Bradley shot 0-8 from distance in this one.

"They guarded us at the three point line. They weren't giving us threes, and they did a good job scoring inside, and we didn't."

Gorski also thought that the Panthers did a good job of cancelling out Bradley's guard play.

"We just have to be tougher on the perimeter. Our guards struggle against physical teams."

Gabi Haack finished the game with a team-high 10 rebounds, which tied a career high for her. Gorksi was pleased with the freshman's efforts, calling her a "tough" player.

Haack added that she thinks that's where she needed to work the most, given how Northern Iowa was guarding her.

"They were playing really good defense. They were playing pretty tight on me, so it was hard to get a shot off."

She went on to talk about the scoring, saying "that's (40 points) not going to win games". Haack also added, pertaining to her rebounding efforts, that it's what she had to do with the way the Panthers approached her offensive game.

"Offense wasn't really going for me, so I just needed to work as hard as I could on defense."

The Braves will have to rebound quickly, as they will host league-leading Drake Sunday. Coach Gorski kept it simple when piecing together what Bradley needs to do to get a win.

"It's going to be a tough game on Sunday. We just have to play tougher."

Haack agreed, adding on about the physicality the Braves need to play with against the Bulldogs Sunday.

"I just really think we need to work on being more physical, getting those boards. They (Northern Iowa) out-rebounded us, so we really need to work on out-rebounding Drake to win."

The Bradley-Drake game tips from Renaissance Coliseum at 2:00 pm Sunday.

Bradley Braves Scorers:
Vanessa Markert (12), Anneke Schlueter (6), Jailynn Lawson (6), Nyjah White (5), Gabi Haack (4), Emily Marsh (3), Danielle Brewer (2), Shunseere Kent (2)

Bradley Braves Statistical Leaders:
FGs | Vanessa Markert (4 for 11)
3's | None
FTs | Vanessa Markert (4 for 5)
Rebounds | Gabi Haack (10)
Assists | Vanessa Markert (4)
Blocks | Vanessa Markert (4)
Steals | 7 players with 1 each

Bradley Braves Team Statistics:
FGs | 15 for 55 (27.3%)
3's | 0 for 8 (0.0%)
FTs | 10 for 12 (83.3%)
Rebounds | 32
Assists | 11
Turnovers | 15
Blocks | 4
Steals | 7

Next Bradley Braves Women's Basketball Game:
Sunday, January 28th - 2:00 pm
vs. Drake Bulldogs (13-7) (8-0)
at Renaissance Coliseum - Peoria, IL

Web Stream | ESPN3 (Cody Schindler & Leti Lerma)
Radio | WIRL 1290 AM (Ed Hammond)

Twitter Follows:
Bradley Women's Basketball (@BradleyWBB)
Bradley Braves Athletics (@BradleyBraves)
Alex Staab (@StaabAlex)

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