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Drake dumps second-seeded Illinois State

March 10, 2012
By TIMES-REPUBLICAN STAFF ( , Times-Republican

ST. CHARLES, Mo. - Kyndal Clark hit the go-ahead shot with 8 seconds left to lift the Drake women's basketball team to a 56-54 upset victory over second-seeded Illinois State in the quarterfinals of the Missouri Valley Conference tournament on Friday night.

The Bulldogs (17-14) advance to face third-seeded Wichita State (19-11) in today's 4:05 p.m. semifinal set to be televised by Fox Sports Midwest.

Clark scored Drake's last four points to help the team overcome a second-half deficit that reached as many as eight, 46-38, with 10:46 remaining. The seventh-seeded Bulldogs held Illinois State scoreless for a 4-minute stretch as Drake fought to within 50-48 with 4:25 left.

The two teams went back and forth before Clark went coast-to-coast for a tying layup, making it 54-all, and Amber Wollschlager rebounded a Candace Sykes miss on the other end.

Clark took the ball and went the length of the court again for the go-ahead bucket.

"On the second-to-last shot I felt like I kind of had the edge on (the defender)," Clark said. "I was off-balance and that's how I just threw it up there and it went in.

"On the last one I knew (Jamie) Russell was going to come in under me and try to swoop it, or try to block me, so I knew I had to adjust my shot. But at that point I knew I just had to make it."

MVC Player of the Year Rachael Hackbarth had 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead Drake, while Wollschlager finished with 14 points and Morgan Reid 11.

"I am really proud of our team's effort and their determination, their heart," said Drake head coach Amy Stephens. "It wasn't always pretty but we got the job done and our defense was tenacious.

"When (Illinois State) got up eight with 10 minutes, we could have rolled over and given up, and we just refused to go away and hung around and executed what we needed to."

The Bulldogs will try to avenge a pair of regular-season losses to Wichita State, which came by an average of 20 points. It is Drake's first trip to the conference semifinals since 2009.

Katie Broadway led Illinois State (18-12) with 20 points while Sykes had 17 points and 11 rebounds in the elimination loss.



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