Thursday, March 8, 2018

Bradley Women’s Basketball wins First Round MVC Game

Bradley's Shareece Burrell attempts a free throw in the fourth quarter of Bradley's MVC Tournament opener against Evansville. Burrell would finish with 5 points and the Braves would win the game, 77-49. PHOTO / ALEX STAAB
Moline, IL – A loss on Senior Day back on March 3rd gave the Bradley Braves (13-17) (6-12) a 7th seed headed into the Missouri Valley Conference tournament Thursday night against 10th-seeded Evansville (3-27) (0-18).

Things did not start off as planned for the Braves, as the Aces lead 9-8 at the first media timeout in the first quarter. Yet Bradley Head Coach Andrea Gorski said they weren't phased.

"I just thought that if we can keep the pace up, if we can score and get into our press and wear them down, it would be okay. Not really panicked at all at that point. Just stick to the game plan and we'll be fine."

The Braves would go on to close the quarter on a 16-2 run. The first ten minutes of play belonged to Gabi Haack. The freshman from Elk River, Minnesota had 15 of her team-high 20 points in the first. Emily Marsh (Fr. – Superior Township, MI) hit her first three of the season in the first as well. Bradley would maintain a 24-11 lead over Evansville.

As good of a quarter as it was for Haack, she was quick to credit the team, but did add that it helped her confidence as the game went on.

"It was a team effort. We moved the ball a lot. I just happened to be open. Definitely boosted the confidence."

Coach Gorski believed that her bench players played a big role in getting things started offensively, praising her starters as well.

"I thought that next wave of players that came off the bench really got us rolling. This one right here (nodding to Gabi Haack) really got us going. That really opened the game up for us."

The second quarter saw Bradley keep their foot on the gas, holding Evansville to their only single digit-scoring quarter of the game. The Aces would not find their way to the free throw line in the period, only three shots total, while the Braves would go 4-4 from the line, with Haack and Vanessa Markert (Jr. – Mt. Sterling, IL) making two apiece. Haack would pace the Braves scoring for yet another quarter, scoring the last five of her 20 in the second. Madison Dellamuth (Sr. – Cedar Rapids, IA) and Markert both added four-point quarters. Shareece Burrell (Sr. – Des Moines, IA) had the three-ball working, hitting one in the second. That would all lead to a commanding 42-19 lead for the Braves headed to the halftime locker room.

Coming out in the second half, the third quarter may not have gone to Chelsea Brackmann (So. – New Berlin, WI) scoring-wise, but she certainly made a difference on the boards. Brackmann would bring in five of her team-high 13 rebounds in the third quarter, seven shy of her career high of 19 rebounds. The Braves would have their worst scoring quarter of the game, just eclipsing a dozen points in the third. No Bradley player made more than one shot, unless one makes a slight exception for Danielle Brewer (Sr. – Coatesville, IN), who made a two-pointer as well as a free throw. Despite the tapered-off offense in the third period for Bradley, they would still find themselves in front of the Aces by 27, 56-29, with just one quarter to go.

The Aces were not going down without a fight. They would finish the fourth quarter with their best quarter by far, scoring 20 points. They were paced in the final frame by Hannah Noe, who dropped 14 of her game-high 23 points in the last 10 minutes of play. Bradley was able to get significant minutes from their bench in the late going of this one, as Missy Adrian (Fr. – Rolling Meadows, IL), a walk-on from Fremd HS, entered with just under two minutes to go. Adrian was able to bring down a rebound and dish out an assist in her playing time. Not only that, Adrian hit a three and was fouled, a play which got the bench and the Braves faithful on their feet. Although Adrian was unable to convert the free throw, it was just her second three made all season. Kellee Clay (Jr. – Naperville, IL) also made good use of her time off the bench, not scoring, but getting two rebounds as well as a block in the closing minutes. 

Chelsea Brackmann said that Adrian's three was a fun moment for the team, saying they've even kept an eye on her three-point shooting numbers.

"It was awesome to see that, because she was 1-1 on the year from the three point line, so we had a big thing going about her being 100% on the year, having the best three point shooting percentage in the country."

By the final buzzer, the Braves would be walking away with a first round victory in the MVC Tournament, beating Evansville by a score of 77-49.

The win gives Bradley their 13th of the 2017-18 season and snaps a four-game losing streak. Evansville finishes the season on a 21-game losing streak, with their last win coming back on December 14th of 2017. Nyjah White (Fr. – Columbia, MO) would finish in double figures for the Braves, totaling 10 points. Anneke Schlueter (Sr. – Ulm, Germany) led the team in assists with five. Brackmann was able to swat three shots. 

After the game, Coach Gorski was very pleased with Brackmann's rebounding efforts, saying that she "did a great job on the boards for us."

All in all, Gorski said they're ready for the next game.

"It was well-balanced. Now we're just going to turn our attention towards Missouri State."

With the win, the Braves advance to the Quarterfinal round of the MVC Women’s Basketball Tournament. They’ll face the Bears of Missouri State tomorrow evening at 6:00 pm in the TaxSlayer Center in Moline. Ed Hammond will have the radio call on WIRL 1290 AM, with pregame expected to start around 5:40. The game will also have a live web stream via “The Valley on ESPN3”. 

Bradley Women’s Basketball Scoring:
Gabi Haack (20), Nyjah White (10), Madison Dellamuth (7), Chelsea Brackmann (6), Vanessa Markert (6), Shareece Burrell (5), Shunseere Kent (4), Danielle Brewer (3), Missy Adrian (3), Jailynn Lawson (3), Emily Marsh (3), Anneke Schlueter (3), Ryan Wilkins (2), Amber Bozeman (2)

Bradley Women’s Basketball Statistical Leaders:
FGs | Gabi Haack (6 for 10 / 60%)
3's | Gabi Haack (5 for 9 / 55.6%)
FTs | Gabi Haack (3 for 4 / 75%)
Rebounds | Chelsea Brackmann (13)
Assists | Anneke Schlueter (5)
Blocks | Chelsea Brackmann (3)
Steals | Chelsea Brackmann (4)

Bradley Women’s Basketball Team Stats:
FGs | 29-71 (40.8%)
3's | 9-20 (45%)
FTs | 10-13 (76.9%)
Rebounds | 47
Assists | 19
Turnovers | 7
Blocks | 7
Steals | 11

Next Bradley Women’s Basketball Game:
2017-2018 Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament
Quarterfinal Round
vs. (2) Missouri State
6:00 pm tipoff
@ TaxSlayer Center – Moline, IL
Radio | WIRL 1290 AM (Ed Hammond)
Web | The Valley on ESPN3 

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