DES MOINES – Iowa State was a step behind Drake all game on Thursday in Des Moines.
ISU Coach Bill Fennelly said he told his team that one or two plays change the game. One of the biggest game-changing plays was when Iowa State was up 80-76 and Drake’s Maddie Monahan made an and-one 3-pointer. Iowa State’s Claire Rickets was a step late on the closeout and she fouled Monahan on the shot.
The Bulldogs beat the Cyclones 83-80. Drake used a perfectly executed sideline-out-of-bounds play to free Becca Hittner for the eventual game-winning and-one floater.
“You have to make one more play, and they made one more play,” Fennelly said. “That’s the nature of college basketball. That’s what I always talk about with the team. One or two plays change games and you never which one it’s going to be. No disappointment in our effort, obviously our execution has to improve dramatically.”
Drake, on offense, got out in transition, made the extra pass and beat Iowa State to the spot.
Iowa State (3-3) knew Drake (4-3) was going to get out and run, but the Cyclones still failed to get back, even after made baskets.
“It’s something we worked on in practice and you just have to stay active on defense and don’t fall asleep and that happened a little too often to us,” Adriana Camber said.
On defense, the Bulldogs’ matchup zone caused fits for the Cyclones, who had a hard time penetrating it and getting the ball inside.
“They were active,” Bridget Carleton said. “They knew where everyone was on the court and it made it tough to make plays out of it.”
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Even though Iowa State was slow at times, both offensively and defensively, Fennelly was happy with the way his team competed.
The Cyclones were down 16 points with 3:44 left in the third quarter. They came storming back and even took a four-point lead for a time in the fourth quarter.
Carleton, Camber and Emily Durr all hit clutch shots in that time. Carleton finished the game with 19 points and seven rebounds, Durr finished with 21 points and Camber finished with 16 points, all of which came in the second half.
“We competed, we only turned the ball over nine times and made some big shots,” Fennelly said. “We gave ourselves a chance to win when it looked like we were going to get blown out. That’s a credit to them. It’s always hard to lose and there’s no such thing as a moral victory but certainly this team showed grit and toughness at a time where they probably hadn’t shown it over an extended period of time.”
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