For the first time in program history, Bradley womens basketball is going to the NCAA Tournament after downing Drake 78-70 in Sundays Missouri Valley Conference title game. The road to the Braves first MVC tournament title was anything but conventional, let alone easy. This whole seasons been up and down, right? Bradley head coach Andrea Gorski said. And just trying to, everyday were getting tested, youve got to wait before you have a chance to win on the floor. Im really proud of our team. . . After a positive COVID-19 test within Bradleys tier-1 personnel yesterday, the Braves semifinal matchup with Missouri State was ruled a no contest. Gorski clarified via Twitter that the positive test was not submitted by a coach or player, and the Braves were shifted to a game against Loyola-Chicago, who they dispatched to set up a title tilt with the Ramblers original semifinal opponent, Drake. All in a weekends worth for Bradley, who showed no signs of fatigue or frustration in Sundays championship card. The Braves rolled out of the gates hot and drained eight three-pointers on 17 first-half attempts. Weve worked so hard to get to this moment, Bradley senior Gabi Haack said. So we knew going into the game we had to play with energy, we have to play together and we moved the ball really well. We did hit a lot of shots and came up with the W. Haack was named the tournaments Most Outstanding Player, while junior Lasha Petree was also an honoree on the all-tournament team. Bradleys early efforts from the field were far from enough to stifle Drakes attack as the Bulldogs trailed by a score of 40-37 at the halftime break. That first half included an 8-2 stretch to start the game and a strong attack from under the basket 26 of those 37 points came in the paint. Haack led all scorers with 11 first-half points while Drake sophomore Maggie Bair paced the Bulldogs with 10 points at the break. . . Drake was playing without head coach Jennie Baranczyk, who was sidelined due to COVID-19. Although I really want to win that game, and I wanted it so bad for them, I dont know how many programs could give the keys to their players, and let them go, Baranczyk said. And, and they did that today. And Im so proud. . . The second half was initially characterized by a strong Drake start. The Bulldogs mounted an 11-6 charge out of the break and took a 48-46 lead with 5. 35 remaining in the third quarter. They entered the final frame with a 58-56 lead, but the Braves would battle back. Drake had their runs and we had our runs, Haack said. Ultimately, you know, we just focused on our defense in the fourth quarter, moved the ball better on offense. And that resulted in our run. . . Bradley a commanding lead late in the game after pulling away after the last media timeout. And as the clock hit zeroes, the Braves had accomplished something that 45 Bradley teams prior had not. Raised a trophy. The significance of the moment is not lost on Gorski, herself a Bradley alum and hall of famer. . . It is really indescribable, Gorski said. Its for all of our alumni. So many of my former Bradley teammates texted me this morning. For anyone that ever played at Bradley. For all the hard work that goes in being a student athlete, you know, its not easy were squad 46. Thats 46 years of womens basketball. And were finally bringing the trophy home to Renaissance Coliseum.