The Drake women's basketball team had finally grabbed some momentum in the third quarter with a 12-1 run Saturday.
Drake had struggled in the second quarter and fallen into a 38-27 deficit at the half, but tied the score when Anna Miller connected on a layup with 4:59 remaining.
Then an all-too-familiar thing happened to the Bulldogs. Missouri State went on a 10-1 run to reclaim the lead and take control of the game. The Bears won the Missouri Valley Conference game 69-53 at the Knapp Center.
"I think with a lot of our losses, it's all like that," said Drake guard Katie Dinnebier. "We'll get it to within a couple of points. We'll tie it. We'll get the lead. And then we'll let them go. It shows how talented our team is. I mean, we come back and we have great plays, but we've just got to find a way to stay consistent throughout."
It was the fourth straight loss for the Bulldogs, who fell to 9-8 on the season and 1-5 in conference play. Several of those losses have seen Drake claw back into games and then stumble to the finish line. It was a point of emphasis for Drake coach Allison Pohlman in her postgame talk with her team.
"I think the main message is we can't just turn the switch on and turn the switch off," Pohlman said. "You can't come out in the third quarter and have a great game and then let it all off."
Can Drake fix the issue? That’s the big question.
Here are some takeaways from the game.
Scoring is suddenly an issue
Drake's offense traditionally has been one of the best in the MVC. But the Bulldogs have been struggling lately, especially Saturday.
Two different shooting slumps plagued Drake. The Bulldogs shot 33.3% (4-for-12) in the second quarter and 23.1% (3-of-13) in the fourth quarter. Also concerning: Drake's 19% (4-of-21) shooting from 3-point range and 9-of-21 performance from the free throw line.
"If you see our practices, we hit all of our shooting drills, all of our goals," Dinnebier said. "We shoot the crap out of the ball. So to come out here it's just like, 'What's going on?'"
Confidence is not fading
The Bulldogs were picked to finish second in the MVC this season. That seems unlikely for the Bulldogs, who suffered their first four-game losing streak since the 2013-14 season. That's also the last time Drake dropped four straight games in league play as well.
"We'll come back stronger than ever and we're going to click at the right time," Dinnebier said.
The roster took another hit
After missing four players in back-to-back games, the Bulldogs had finally gotten back to full strength during their game against Southern Illinois. But it didn’t last long. Guard Maddie Petersen suffered a hand injury that kept her out of Saturday’s game.
Pohlman had no timetable on how long the Bulldogs would be without Petersen, who suffered the injury late in the loss to Southern Illinois. Petersen, who is averaging 6.6 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game, also got stitches for a cut on her head from a different injury in the game.
“She’s really the glue on our team,” Pohlman said.
Tommy Birch, the Register's sports enterprise and features reporter, has been working at the newspaper since 2008. He's the 2018 and 2020 Iowa Sportswriter of the Year. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 515-284-8468. Follow him on Twitter @TommyBirch.
This article originally appeared on Des Moines Register: Drake women's basketball team suffers familiar fate vs. Missouri State