Thursday, January 3, 2019

Bradley hosts preseason Valley favorite Drake on Friday

Peoria, Ill. - The Drake Bulldogs (8-4) haven't lost a regular season Missouri Valley game since February 19th, 2016. That's 1,048 calendar days. The Bulldogs and their streak make the drive to Peoria on Friday to face the Bradley Braves (10-1). Here's what you need to know.

Game Info:
Location - Renaissance Coliseum (4,200)
Time - 7:00 pm CST
Tickets - $8.00 
Radio - WIRL 1290 AM
Web - ESPN+ ($)
Promotion - Health & Wellness Night (Free postgame Zumba classes)

Drake Notes:
- Arguably, Drake's best player might just come off the bench. Redshirt junior Sara Rhine is bringing in a team-high 7.9 rebounds per game, shooting 59.2% from the field, and averaging a team-high 18.5 points per game, all while only starting three of the Bulldogs' 12 games thus far.
- On the other hand, Becca Hittner, Maddy Dean, Maddie Monahan, and Sammie Bachrodt are four of the players who have started all 12 games. 
- Hittner, who was named the Jackie Stiles MVC Women's Basketball Player of the Year a season ago, currently only leads the team in threes made (27 for 59) and steals (18). 
- A win's a win, but there are at least four worth pointing out. The Bulldogs won at Nebraska on November 7th, 83-77. That was followed roughly two weeks later by a 69-59 win over legendary coach C. Vivian Stringer and Rutgers. Then, it what may be their biggest win so far, a 90-85 overtime triumph over the South Carolina Gamecocks and coach Dawn Staley. A 16-point win over Creighton also is worth noting.
- Drake is in rare air entering Friday's game. They've lost three straight, most recently, a 91-82 loss to #16 Iowa. A 82-64 loss to #2 Notre Dame is another loss to keep in mind. The losing streak is the longest since the Bulldogs also lost three consecutive games from December 9th until December 21st of last season.
- 2 of the Bulldogs' 4 losses have come in true road games. The others came on a neutral floor (Notre Dame) and at home (Iowa).

Bradley Notes:
- The Braves have been scoring at a high pace so far. As of Wednesday evening, the Braves have four players averaging more than 10 points per game, led by Gabi Haack's 16.1 ppg, who's closely followed by Lasha Petree's 15.9 ppg. 
- Chelsea Brackmann is averaging a double-double through non-conference games, totaling 10.8 points per game, and 10.5 rebounds per game. 
- Notable wins so far include an 80-59 win at Florida Atlantic to win the hosts' tournament, an 82-68 win over Western Illinois, and a 67-65 win over Cleveland State. 
- Maybe without argument, the Braves' most notable loss would be the game at Purdue, where the Braves turned a 27-point deficit into a seven-point game. Bradley ended up losing that one in West Lafayette, 74-61.
- Like the Bulldogs, the Braves have kept four out of five starting lineup slots the same all season thus far. Those for for Bradley are Gabi Haack, Nyjah White, Chelsea Brackmann, and Ellisha Davis. That group has combined for 433 of Bradley's 826 points scored (52.4%).
- With a dominant 89-59 win over Chicago State last Friday, the Braves won their program record 10th non-conference game, and now sit at (10-1). 
- The Braves are on a six-game home winning streak, with their last home loss coming on Senior Day to Illinois State last season.
- The Bradley-Drake series a year ago, although swept by Drake, was very close both games. Drake won, 84-75, in Peoria. The Bulldogs then won in Des Moines, 77-71. 
- The last time Bradley beat Drake was in Peoria, back on February 21st, 2013, when the Braves bested the Bulldogs by a score of 93-84. The Braves have not won at Drake since the 2009-10 season.

Drake 2018-2019 WBB Schedule
@ Nebraska | W | 83-77
@ Western Illinois | W | 98-71
vs. South Dakota | W | 76-64
vs. Cal State Northridge | W | 73-63
Rutgers | W | 69-59
#2 Notre Dame | L | 64-82
#12 South Carolina | W | 90-85 (OT)
@ Creighton | W | 85-69
vs. Clarke | W | 91-43
@ South Dakota State | L | 71-80
@ Iowa State | L | 81-86
vs. #16 Iowa | L | 82-91

Bradley 2018-2019 WBB Schedule
vs. SEMO | W | 85-79
vs. Rockhurst | W | 83-40
Delaware | W | 59-47
@ Florida Atlantic | W | 80-59
vs. Eastern Illinois | W | 67-64
vs. Oakland | W | 73-64
vs. Western Illinois | W | 82-68
@ Omaha | W | 80-60
@ Cleveland State | W | 67-65
@ Purdue | L | 61-74
vs. Chicago State | W | 89-59

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