St. Charles, Mo - A furious rally in the final minutes was not enough for the Wichita State women's basketball team in the semifinal round of the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Tournament on Saturday. The No. 3 Shockers fell, 56-52, to No. 7 Drake.
Wichita State never led and trailed by as many as 18 points in the second half before blowing through an 11-0 run in the final four minutes. A Jessica Diamond three-point basket capped the run and pulled WSU within 53-52 with 1:10 remaining. Haleigh Lankster spurred the run with six-straight points en route to a team-high 15. Lankster also tallied seven steals, tying the WSU record in the MVC Tournament.
Drake, which previously defeated No. 10 Evansville and No. 2 Illinois State, advanced to the title game against No. 4 Creighton.
MVC Player-of-the-Year Rachael Hackbarth tallied her NCAA-leading 24th double-double of the season with 15 points and 12 rebounds for the Bulldogs. Freshmen Carly Grenfell (11) and Kyndal Clark (14) also netted double digits.
Drake hit two early three-point field goals and jumped out to an 8-2 lead by the first media timeout. The Shockers scratched back to within 14-10 before Drake reeled off a 16-2 run to take a 30-12 lead. WSU rallied to score the final six points of the first half but still trailed by double digits at the brea, 30-18.
Wichita State showed early life in the second half and a straightaway three-pointer with time expiring on the shot clock from freshman Alex Harden pulled the Shocks within 32-23 at the 15:57 mark.
Drake again answered, scoring nine of the next 11 points to claim a 41-23 lead with 12 minutes remaining. The Shockers struggled to gain momentum and still trailed 51-41 with 3:58 to go before going on their late run.
The post-season future for WSU is uncertain. The WNIT bracket will be revealed late Monday night, after the NCAA Selection Show, scheduled for 7 p.m. CDT.
WSU is 19-12 and one win shy of matching the school record for victories in season. This group has already set the program record for wins over a three-year period (54).