Rangie Bessard’s 32 points not enough as WSU drops conference opener

WICHITA, Kan. – Despite a career-high night from Rangie Bessard, the Shockers fell to Drake by a score of 83-78 on Friday in Charles Koch Arena.

Bessard led the way for the Shockers, scoring a career-high 32 points and also grabbing a game-high 12 rebounds. Angiee Tompkins also added 12 points while Jeliah Preston and TaQuandra Mike both scored nine.

Lizzy Wendell scored 32 points for the Bulldogs, shooting 13-of-18 from the field. Becca Hittner, Sammie Bachrodt and Caitlin Ingle also added double figures for the Bulldogs.

A quick basket off the opening tip for Drake helped the Bulldogs begin a 9-2 run before a basket by Bessard and a free throw from Aundra Stovall made the score 9-5 with six minutes left in the first quarter.

Back-to-back baskets by Mike and Bessard cut the lead to 13-9 before the first media timeout. The Shockers cut the lead to two late in the first quarter, but the Bulldogs were able to push the lead back to eight by the end of the first quarter, 25-17.

Jeliah Preston helped the Shockers keep the Drake lead at just seven for the first five minutes of the second quarter, scoring five of the team’s nine points. Back-to-back baskets by Bessard at the end of the half cut the lead to four, 40-36. Bessard scored 16 of the team’s 36 in the first half.

Bessard came out strong in the second half scoring the team’s first nine points of the quarter before an unconventional three-point play by Angiee Tompkins cut the Drake lead to four, 52-48. Later in the quarter, Tompkins scored back-to-back layups that cut the lead to three, but a three-pointer by the Bulldogs killed the momentum and pushed the lead back to six. By the end of the third quarter, Wichita State cut the lead to four, 65-61.

Drake came out strong to start the fourth, pushing the lead to nine before a layup and a timeout by the Shockers cut the lead to seven at the media timeout. A three-pointer by Mike cut the lead to six with three minutes left in the game, but the Bulldogs were able to hold the lead and win the game, 83-78.

The Shockers are now 5-7 overall and 0-1 to begin Missouri Valley Conference play. WSU will be in action again on Sunday, Jan. 1, as they host Northern Iowa at 3:30 p.m.