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Drake women complete first-ever perfect conference basketball season

Cortni Rush, a former Mason City Mohawk

DES MOINES, Iowa – The No. 22/22 Drake University women’s basketball team is the first-ever Missouri Valley Conference team to go undefeated in regular season conference play after its 105-89 win over Wichita State Saturday afternoon at the Knapp Center.

Following Saturday’s victory, Drake honored its outstanding senior class of Caitlin Ingle (Runnells, Iowa), Cortni Rush (Mason City, Iowa) and Lizzy Wendell (Blue Springs, Mo.).

Drake’s (25-4, 18-0 MVC) win also completed an undefeated season (13-0) at the Knapp Center, a first for the Bulldogs since the 1978-1979 season. The Bulldogs shot an incredible 19-of-31 (61.3 percent) from 3-point range, breaking the school record for the number of 3-pointers in a single game (17, Bradley, 1/24/2014). Eight different Bulldogs made at least one three.

The Bulldogs were led by Wendell who scored a game-high 25 points. She was followed by sophomore Sammie Bachrodt (Wichita, Kan.) and freshman Brenni Rose (Shawnee, Kan.) who both recorded career highs with 23 and 22 points, respectively. Rose shot a career best 5-of-6 from beyond the arc while Bachrodt made a career-high five three-pointers and added four rebounds, four assists and three steals. Freshman Becca Hittner also added double-digits with 13 points (11 in the second half) along with six rebounds and a career-tying five assists. Rush had one point, two rebounds, one assist and one steal in 12 minutes.

The Bulldogs trailed Wichita State 28-27 at the end of the first quarter before holding a 51-44 lead at halftime. Drake closed out the third quarter outscoring Wichita State 27-6, including 12 -straight unanswered points at the end of the period, to take an 83-64 lead into the fourth quarter. WSU would get as close as 15 points in the final quarter as Drake cruised to its historic win.

The 105 points are the most scored by a Drake team in a MVC game since the 1996-97 season. The 105 points on the Shockers and the 101 on the Illinois State Redbirds earlier this season (Feb. 10) marks the first time a Drake team has scored 100 or more points against a league opponent twice in a season since the 1994-95 team scored 100 on Evansville and 105 on Illinois State.

Drake is the top seed for the MVC Hoops in the Heartland Tournament to be held March 9-12 in Moline, Ill. at the iWireless Center. They will play March 10 at 12 p.m. against the winner of the Indiana State and Illinois State game to be contested on March 9. Every game will be broadcast online on The Valley on ESPN3.

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