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Women's Basketball Starts MVC Action At Illinois State

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
Release: January 02, 2014
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NORMAL, Ill. – The Drake University (6-5) women’s basketball team starts Missouri Valley Conference action Friday, Jan. 3 at Illinois State (1-9). Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Redbird Arena and you can listen to Ric Silvestrini and Molly Nelson call the action on 1350 KRNT. Live stats will be available at www.GoDrakeBulldogs.com.


  • Drake is coming off a 79-57 victory over Milwaukee Sunday at the Knapp Center.
  • Four players scored in double-figures led by junior Kyndal Clark’s (Webb City, Mo.) game-high 19 points, while senior Alyssa Marschner added 12 points, seven assists, six rebounds, four steals and two blocks to help the Bulldogs improve to 6-5 overall. Freshman Lizzy Wendell (Blue Springs, Mo.) added 13 points, while junior Cara Lutes (Maplewood, Minn.) chipped in 11 points and four rebounds on her birthday.
  • The win over Milwaukee improves Drake’s record against the Panthers to 7-0 in the all-time series between the two schools.
  • The Bulldogs have won four out of their last five contests, with the lone loss at No. 22 Iowa.
  • Drake locked down Milwaukee limiting the Panthers to 57 points, which is their second lowest point total of the season. Milwaukee came into the game averaging 68.2 points per game. The Bulldogs held the Panthers to 36.2 percent (21-of-58) from the floor and 21.7 percent (5-of-23) from beyond the arc.
  • Drake is 18-12 all-time in MVC openers with a 10-11 record in road openers. Drake and Illinois State have opened Valley play against each other four times with each school winning two games.
  • The Bulldogs are opening their conference season on the road for the sixth-straight season. In addition, the Bulldogs have opened their MVC slate on the road in 10 of the last 11 seasons.
  • Drake finished above .500 in non-conference matchups this year as the Bulldogs have finished at .500 or better in non-conference action in six out of the last seven campaigns.
  • Drake’s MVC home opener will be against Southern Illinois on Jan. 10.



  • Illinois State is led by first-year head coach Barb Smith, who was named the seventh women's basketball coach in Illinois State history last April. Smith was most recently the associate head coach at Saint Louis University in 2012-13 under former Drake head coach Lisa Stone. She has 26 years of Division I coaching experience, including five seasons as the head coach at San Diego State.
  • The Redbirds’ lone win was against Florida on Nov. 29 as they come into Friday night’s contest on a six-game losing streak.
  • Senior guard Chloe Nelson is Illinois State’s top scorer at 13.7 points per game.
  • Illinois State has won the last two matchups against Drake. The Bulldogs last defeated the Redbirds in the quarterfinals of the 2012 MVC Championship in St. Charles, Mo.
  • The Redbirds lost to the Wichita State Shockers in the title game of the 2013 MVC Championship.


Illinois State holds a slight advantage, 34-33, in the all-time series between the two schools. Drake and Illinois State first met on Dec. 7, 1981 in a game won by the Bulldogs, 74-53, in Des Moines. The two schools have faced each other at least twice annually since 1984. Both teams have had significant runs on each other with Drake winning 14-straight games from 1997-2004. ISU snapped that streak with a 57-54 win in Normal, Ill. on Feb. 8, 2004 and have won 17 of 21 contests since. Drake will try for its first win at Illinois State since beating the Redbirds, 68-52, on Feb. 1, 2003 as the Bulldogs are just 12-20 all-time in Normal.


Clark poured in a career-high 35 points in the win over SIUE earlier this season. Clark, who became the first Bulldog to score 30 or more points since Rachael Hackbarth dropped 32 points at Indiana State on Jan. 22, 2012, tied her career-best with 12 free throws on 14 attempts. She equaled her season-high marks for rebounds with eight and five three-pointers. For her efforts she earned her second career MVC Player of the Week award. She is averaging a team-leading 16.4 points per game, which is the fourth best mark in The Valley. Clark averages a MVC-leading 2.7 three-pointers made per game.


Clark needs 35 points to become the 23rd player in Drake women’s basketball history to reach 1,000 career points. Clark scored 332 points, while averaging 9.8 points per game and was named to the all-MVC freshman team in her debut season. Last year she dropped in 453 points, while averaging a team-leading 14.6 points per game, which ranked third in The Valley.


Wendell continues to shine for the Bulldogs in her debut season as she recently earned her third MVC Newcomer of the Week honor this past Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. The Blue Springs, Mo., native is averaging 12.5 points per game, which ranks second on the squad and is pulling down 6 rebounds per game. She is averaging the second-highest point total among freshmen in The Valley behind only Sara Dickey of Evansville, who leads the conference at 19.2 points per game. Wendell was previously named MVC Newcomer of the Week on Nov. 11 and Dec. 2. She is the first Drake player to win the newcomer award three times in a season since Jill Martin and Whitney Pegram each accomplished the feat during the 2003-04 campaign.


Wendell leads the Valley in three-point shooting percentage at 51.3 percent (20-of-39), while junior Liza Heap (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) is second at 46.2 percent (12-of-26) and Clark is sixth at 39 percent (30-of-77). Redshirt junior Carly Grenfell (York, Neb.) is 14th at 30 percent (12-of-40). Drake, who holds the top team three-point percentage in the MVC at 35.9, is the only Valley school to have four players ranked in the top-15 in the category. As a team, Drake makes an MVC-leading 8.5 three-pointers per game, which ranks 15th in the nation.


The Bulldogs have consistently ranked in top half of the conference in field goal percentage this season. Currently Drake is third at 40.6 percent behind Bradley at 41.6 percent and Wichita State at 43.6 percent,   respectively. Drake has scored 70 or more points in four out of its last five contests, and is averaging 68.2 points per game


Drake limited non-conference opponents to just 27.2 (54-of-203) from beyond the arc. The Bulldogs are number two in the conference behind Wichita State, who held its opponents to just 25.2 percent (33-of-131).


Drake travels to Indiana State Sunday, Jan. 5 as the Bulldogs look to snap a two-game losing streak to the Sycamores. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. CST in Terre Haute, Ind.


Drake played four different opponents (Cornell, Coastal Carolina, Idaho State, SIUE) for the first-ever time in school history this season. The Bulldogs finished 3-1 with wins over Coastal Carolina, Idaho State and SIUE, with its lone loss to Cornell of the Ivy League.


Iowa State’s win over Drake earlier this season gives the Cyclones a 27-26 advantage in the all-time series between the schools. Next season Drake will look to end a slide that has seen it win just once in the last ten contests against Iowa State.


Drake’s 89-81 overtime win at South Dakota was its first overtime victory since beating Evansville, 69-62, on Jan. 9, 2011. The Bulldogs had dropped its previous three overtime games before knocking off the Coyotes.


Heap poured in a career-high 18 points, including a career-best four three-pointers at Colorado State. It was the first time the Colorado native played in her home state as a Bulldog. Heap added two rebounds, one assist and one steal in a career-high 37 minutes.


The Drake University women’s basketball program hosted its first-ever “Pay It Forward” presented by the West Des Moines Sheraton game against Iowa State on Sunday, Nov. 24.

Earlier this year, the women’s basketball program set a goal to perform 1,000 hours of community service in honor of the late Kum & Go co-founder William Krause and his work in the Des Moines community. Part of this goal led to the program hosting a Pay It Forward game to challenge the Des Moines community to get involved with service work. The game showcased what Mr. Krause meant to the women’s basketball program and to the Des Moines community.

The collected items were donated to The Community Action Agency of the City of Des Moines as a part of National Hunger and Homeless Awareness week. In addition there was a special half-time presentation at the game that highlighted junior Cara Lutes (Maplewood, Minn.) and a group of Drake students’ humanitarian trip to Uganda this past May.


The game at Wisconsin was a homecoming for sophomore Ashley Bartow, who is from Verona, Wis. which is outside of Madison. Bartow scored eight points and snagged six rebounds in 22 minutes.


The Drake Bulldogs hold a 38-24 advantage in the all-time series against the Creighton Bluejays after its 62-55 victory in its season-opener at the Knapp Center. The Bluejays departed the Missouri Valley Conference for the newly configured Big East after last season. The teams have met at least twice annually since 1981, a run that will come to an end in 2013-14, unless the squads meet in the postseason. Clark scored a team-high 19 points as the Bulldogs overcame a 30-26 halftime deficit to snap a three-game losing streak to the Bluejays


Creighton shot just 24.1 percent (7-of-29) in the second half as Drake forced 22 turnovers and scored 23 points off of the turnovers. Preseason all-Big East selectee Sarah Nelson scored eight points for the Bluejays, but was held scoreless in the second period.


The Creighton win improves the Bulldogs season-opening record to 24-16 overall record, dating back to the program’s first game on Nov. 20, 1974 - a 78-65 home victory over Iowa.


The 2013-14 campaign is the 40th anniversary of Drake women’s basketball. The Drake women’s basketball program started in 1974-75 and finished 10-10 that first season under the direction of Carole Baumgarten.


The Bulldogs were picked to finish fourth in the MVC’s annual preseason poll, the conference office announced prior to the league’s basketball tipoff event on the campus of MVC-newcomer Loyola.

The Indiana State Sycamores, who received 26 out of 40 first-place votes and 378 total points, have been tabbed as the preseason favorite in the MVC's women's basketball race in the annual survey of the league's coaches, sports information directors and media members. Wichita State, which captured its first-ever regular season and MVC tournament championships in 2012-13, is second with 13 first-place votes and 360 points. Drake’s in-state rival the Northern Iowa Panthers garnered 259 points for third place in front of the Bulldogs, who tallied 221 points.

Missouri State, Loyola, Bradley, Illinois State, Evansville and Southern Illinois round out the poll.


Clark, who capped off a great sophomore campaign by being named to the all-MVC second and all-defensive teams, was nominated to the 2013-14 preseason all-conference squad the league also announced.

Alex Harden of Wichita State, Simone Law of Loyola, Cartaesha Macklin of Southern Illinois and Anna Munn of Indiana State round out the all-conference team. Harden is tabbed the MVC Preseason Player of the Year.


One year after having one of the youngest teams in the conference with just one senior on the roster, Drake head coach Jennie Baranczyk has eight players back with significant playing experience. Two freshmen, Caitlin Ingle (Runnells, Iowa) and Wendell, join two seniors, four juniors and two sophomores on the 2013-14 Drake roster.


Similar to her team’s experience Baranczyk, in just her second season, is now one of the Missouri Valley Conference’s most tenured coaches. With Creighton’s departure for its new conference, Loyola joining and with several staff changes at other conference schools, Baranczyk and Bradley’s Michael Brooks are the fifth-most tenured coaches in the MVC. UNI head coach Tonya Warren is the longest tenured coach as she enters her eighth season. Illinois State, Loyola, Missouri State and Southern Illinois all have coaches in their first season in charge. Sheryl Swoopes, perhaps the greatest women’s basketball player of all-time, begins her first season of coaching as the head coach of Loyola.


Drake Women’s Basketball will again hold its special game day event, Bulldog Breakdown, prior to each home contest this season. One of the assistant coaches will meet with Bulldog fans in the Paul F. Morrison Room before tip-off to break down the opponent, share the game plan and give an inside look at the team’s preparation and keys to the game. Doors to the Morrison Room will open one hour before the start time and a member of the basketball staff will share his or her comments approximately 40 minutes before tip-off. Concessions will be available for purchase (cash only) just outside the Morrison Room. Fans may continue to enjoy the pre-game excitement after the Bulldog Breakdown, but are asked to make their way to their seats with 10 minutes left on the pre-game warm-up clock to get ready to cheer on the Bulldogs!


Former University of Iowa standout and Des Moines native, Jennie (Lillis) Baranczyk (pronounced bah-rahn-check) enters her second season at the helm of the program. She was named the sixth head women's basketball coach at Drake University on April 17, 2012.

In her first season leading the Bulldogs, Baranczyk became the fifth Drake women's basketball coach to win 10 or more games in their first season. Clark netted a pair of honors being named to the all-MVC second team and the all-Defensive team. The Bulldogs averaged 2,265 fans per game in Baranczyk’s first season, which ranked third in the Missouri Valley Conference.

Baranczyk came to Drake after a two-year stint as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Colorado, where she was on the staff of head coach Linda Lappe, a former Drake assistant coach. Prior to Colorado, Baranczyk was an assistant coach for four seasons at Marquette after two seasons as an assistant coach at Kansas State.

Baranczyk helped recruit and develop numerous all-conference student-athletes at all three schools and was instrumental in Colorado securing the No. 27th-ranked 2012 recruiting class by ESPN HoopGurlz. At Colorado, she coached All-Big 12 first-team forward Brittney Spears and All-Pac-12 guard Chucky Jeffrey as well as Pac-12 all-freshman team members Lexy Kresl and Jen Reese. On the floor she has had a coaching emphasis in the development of the post player's at all three schools.

Baranczyk has reached postseason tournament play every season as a player and coach. She has coached in two NCAA tournaments and has won two WNIT championships as an assistant coach (Kansas State in 2006 and Marquette in 2008). At Iowa, she played in three NCAA tournaments and one WNIT and helped Iowa win the 2001 Big Ten Tournament.

A three-time captain at Iowa, Baranczyk, was a four-year letterwinner at forward from 2000-04 under coach Lisa Bluder. One of the best all-around players in Hawkeye basketball history, she was a three-time All-Big Ten Conference selection, earning first-team honors as a junior in 2003 and second-team honors as a sophomore in 2002 and as a senior in 2004.

She graduated as the only player in Iowa history in the top 10 of five major statistical categories: points, rebounds, assists, steals and blocks, and is one of only two Hawkeye players to score more than 1,700 points and grab 800 rebounds.

Baranczyk graduated from Iowa in 2004 with her bachelor's degree in Communication Studies and from Kansas State in 2007 with her master's degree in Counseling and Student Development. At Iowa, she was the recipient of the 2004 Big Ten Conference's Medal of Honor.  First awarded in 1914, the Big Ten's oldest award is given annually to a student in the graduating class of each university that demonstrated proficiency in scholarship and athletics. Baranczyk was also a three-time Academic All-Big Ten pick, a WBCA Scholarship Award recipient, CoSIDA Academic All-District honoree, and a Collegiate Basketball Award for Excellence semifinalist as a senior in 2004.

In her prep career, she helped Dowling Catholic in Des Moines win state championships in 1998 and 2000 and she is a member of the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union Hall of Fame.

On the date of her hire, Baranczyk was the second youngest Division I head women's basketball coach.

Jennie's father, Terry, played college baseball and basketball at Simpson College and her brother, Brian, played college basketball at the University of Albany in New York.

Jennie and her husband, Scott Baranczyk, were married in May 2009 and have a son, Eli, who was born on May 8, 2012.

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