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N Iowa Drake Basketball

Drake forward Lizzy Wendell (3) celebrates with teammates during the second half of a against Northern Iowa in February at Des Moines, Iowa. Drake won 70-57.

MOLINE — Top-seeded Drake, which became the first women's basketball team in Missouri Valley Conference history to go 18-0 in league play this season, won its 20th straight game Friday at the iWireless Center.

MVC player of the year Lizzy Wendell scored 11 of her game-high 17 points in the second half, and the 19th-ranked Bulldogs (26-4) pulled away from Illinois State in the third quarter to win 64-40 in the league tournament quarterfinals. Top-seeded Drake will take on fifth-seeded Wichita State (15-15) Saturday at 1:30 p.m. for a spot in the MVC finals.

The Shockers knocked out SIU 73-60 in Friday's second quarterfinal game.

Drake led ninth-seeded Illinois State 20-18 at the break, but outscored the Redbirds 24-8 in the third quarter.

"Our ball and player movement in the third and fourth quarter was Drake basketball, and it is very evident that this team plays its best when we play together, so it was definitely a tale of two halves, and we are really proud of our second half," Drake coach Jennie Baranczyk said. "We had some great learning moments in that first half."

Becca Hittner scored 14 points, Sammie Bachrodt had 10 and Nicole Miller had 10 off the bench for Drake. The Bulldogs, who average over 80 points a game, missed 17 of 23 3-point shots and got outrebounded 36-33, including 13-8 off the offensive glass.

Illinois State (8-23) got points from six of its eight players in the first half and turned it over just nine times. The Redbirds finished with 21 turnovers, which led to 31 Bulldog points. 

Katrina Beck led Illinois State with 13 points on 5 of 12 shooting. Brechelle Beachum and Taylor Stewart added 10 each.

The Redbirds shot 18.2 percent in the third quarter (2 of 11) and 25 percent for the game (12 of 48).

"I thought their defense (Friday) was just stifling, and we came out with a lot of heart and played really hard," Illinois State coach Barb Smith said. "This was a great team effort, especially the first half. We just could not put the ball in the basket at the other end very easily."

No. 2 Northern Iowa 69, No. 7 Bradley 39: Second-seeded Northern Iowa shook off a rough first half to blow out Bradley in the third quarterfinal Friday.

Ellie Herzberg scored 17 points off the bench to lead the Panthers (23-7) back to the tournament semifinals. Megan Maahs scored 14 points and Angie Davison had 11 for Northern Iowa, which will play Evansville Saturday at 4 p.m.

The Purple Aces (14-16) rallied from 10 down at the half to beat Missouri State (16-14) 65-59 in the late game Friday night.

Leti Lerma, Bradley's only senior, led the Braves with 10 points and 12 rebounds in 38 minutes. Alona Johnson added nine points for the Braves (12-19), who beat Loyola Thursday night.

Northern Iowa nearly doubled up Bradley off the glass, 44-27, and turned 18 offensive rebounds into 22 second-chance points. The Panthers scored 25 points off Bradley's 20 turnovers and outscored the Braves' reserves 25-5.


On Twitter: @THefferman


Sports reporter

Todd Hefferman has covered SIU athletics since 2008. A University of Iowa grad, he is a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association and a Heisman Trophy voter.

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