Women's Basketball Hosts Quincy In Exhibition Contest
The Drake women's basketball team hosts the Quincy University Lady Hawks in an exhibition contest Friday, Nov. 2 at 7:05 p.m. Drake begins its regular season on Sunday, Nov. 11 at home against South Dakota. Friday night's exhibition will be broadcast live on PRAISE 940.
Former University of Iowa standout and Des Moines native, Jennie Baranczyk begins her first season as head women's basketball coach at Drake University. Baranczyk is the sixth Drake women's basketball head coach in school history and comes to Drake after a two-year stint as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at the University of Colorado. Baranczyk also served as an assistant coach at Kansas State and Marquette.
This will be the first head coaching position for Baranczyk but she brings an impressive postseason resume as a player and assistant coach, having reached postseason play every season. She also captured two Iowa high school state titles at Dowling Catholic. Baranczyk has coached in two NCAA tournaments and has won two WNIT championships as a 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.
Baranczyk's first hire as head coach was retaining veteran assistant coach Allison Pohlman. Pohlman has been an assistant at Drake since the 2007-08 season. Former Chipola College head coach and Iowa native David Lane was hired as an assistant coach. Courtney Graham who coached at Holy Cross for three seasons was the final assistant hired by Baranczyk. Former Iowa State standout Kelsey Bolte is the new coordinator of basketball operations for the Bulldogs.
The Drake Bulldogs finished the 2011-12 season at 18-16, 9-9 MVC and lost in the first round of the WNIT to South Dakota. Drake won seven of its last eleven games to close the regular season and advanced to the postseason for the first time since the 2007-08 season. Drake won three games (Evansville, Illinois State, Wichita State) in three days to advance to the MVC tournament title game before falling to Creighton. The Bulldogs' 18 wins were the most since the 2008-09 season.
Drake will play 11 non-conference games with home games against South Dakota (Nov. 11), Illinois Chicago (Nov. 18), Chicago State (Dec. 2), Iowa (Dec. 16), Saint Louis (Dec. 21) it also travels to Iowa State (Nov. 27), North Dakota State (Dec. 6), North Dakota (Dec. 8) and Milwaukee (Dec. 29). Iowa and Iowa State both were NCAA tournament participants in 2011-12. A trip to the New Mexico State Tournament in Las Cruces, N.M. with matchups against UC Irvine (Nov. 23) and George Mason or New Mexico State (Nov.24) is also scheduled. MVC play will start Jan. 3, 2013 when the Bulldogs visit Evansville. Drake will again play a round-robin 18 game conference slate.
Baranczyk will have a talented but young roster in her first season with nine first or second year players and just one senior, Stephanie Running (Oak Creek, Wis.). Running averaged 5.8 points and 4.4 rebounds per game in 24 games last season before suffering a season-ending hand injury.
Sophomore Kyndal Clark (Webb City, Mo.) was the team's second leading scorer at 9.8 ppg in 2011-12 on her way to being named to the all-MVC Freshmen team. The Missouri native led the Bulldogs in three-point shooting knocking down 46. Clark was one of only two Bulldogs to start every game in 2011-12.
Clark and redshirt sophomore Carly Grenfell (York, Neb.) are the top shooters for the Blue and White in 2012-13. Grenfell knocked down 31 treys and appeared in 33 games with 10 starts last season. Last season was the first full season for the Nebraska native after she suffered a season-ending knee injury six games into the 2010-11 season.
Clark and Grenfell along with junior Alyssa Marschner (Plymouth, Minn.) are the most experienced guards on the 2012-13 roster. Marschner appeared in only 16 games for the Bulldogs last year but the Minnesota native will be a contributor this season at the guard positions.
Three freshmen, including Alexis Eckles (Milwaukee, Wis.), Dilonna Johnson (Milwaukee, Wis.) and Ashley Bartow (Verona, Wis.), along with junior-college transfer Mary Pat Specht (Shawnee, Kan.), round out the Drake guards. A Wisconsin native, Eckles averaged 17.6 points per game and led Rufus King High School to a runner-up finish at the Wisconsin Division I state tournament her senior season. The team captain was a Wisconsin Division I all-state selection in 2012. Johnson was first-team all-state her senior season of high school and averaged 15.5 points and 4.3 assists per game. With a stellar four-year career in two sports (track & field and basketball), Bartow was the Big 8 Conference player of the year and Wisconsin Division I honorable mention all-state selection her senior season. Specht was named a NJCAA Women's Basketball Division II All-American in her final season at Johnson County Community College and helped lead Johnson County to a school record 32-3 overall record and East Jayhawk Conference title with a perfect 18-0 record. Johnson County held the No. 1 ranking for 15 straight weeks and had a top-10 NJCAA D-II Tournament finish.
Running, junior Morgan Reid (Kansas City, Mo.) along with sophomores Liza Heap (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and Cara Lutes (Maplewood, Minn.) lead a young group of post players for the Bulldogs. Playing in all 34 games and starting 31 in 2011-12, Reid averaged 5.9 points per game and was second in rebounding at 5.1 per game. One of the best all-around athletes on the team she will provide a defensive presence in the paint. Heap appeared in 24 games with three starts in her first season at Drake. The sophomore was plugged into the rotation midway through the season and became a solid contributor. A Minnesota native, Lutes played in 31 games with one start last season for the Bulldogs, pulling down a career-high nine rebounds against Milwaukee.
Sophomore Symone Daniels (Memphis, Tenn.) played in three non-conference games before suffering a season-ending injury last season. Her return will provide depth at the forward position. Bartow will split time between guard and forward for the Bulldogs. Freshman Emma Donahue (Naperville, Ill.) will have a chance to see minutes at the center position for Drake. Donahue earned four-straight all-DuPage Valley Conference nods and three-straight Illinois Class 4A all-state mentions, including a second-team honor her senior year.
BULLDOGS PICKED NINTH
The Drake women's basketball team was picked to finish ninth in the Missouri Valley Conference's annual preseason poll, the conference announced Monday. Creighton received 26 of 40 first-place votes and 382 total points, out-distancing Wichita State (347). Illinois State (323), UNI (272) and Missouri State (265) follow the Bluejays in a tightly-packed group behind the preseason favorite.
The Lady Hawks were picked to finish third this season in the West Division of the Great Lakes Valley Conference. Drake defeated Quincy, 71-67, in an exhibition game last season at the Knapp Center. The Lady Hawks went on to finish 22-8 overall and 13-3 in the GLV and advanced to the NCAA Division II tournament. Jeni Garber is in her second season as the head coach of Quincy. Redshirt junior guard Lucy Cramsey is top returning scorer (9.1) and rebounder (5.4) for the Lady Hawks.
COACHES RADIO SHOW
The Drake Basketball Coaches' Radio Show with Jennie Baranczyk and Mark Phelps will be broadcast live from Rock Bottom, 4508 University Avenue in West Des Moines on Monday nights at 7:00 p.m. through March 4. There will be no show on November 19, and December 24 and 31.
The Drake Basketball Coaches' Luncheons have returned to Overtime, located at 4810 86th Street in Urbandale. The luncheon costs $12 per person and runs from 11:30am to 1:00pm on the following dates: combined men's and women's basketball luncheon on November 13, men's luncheons: December 4, January 22, February 5 and women's basketball luncheons: December 18, January 8, February 19.
COFFEE WITH THE COACHES
Coffee with the Coaches meets at Smokey Row, 1910 Cottage Grove on a monthly basis from 7:30 to 9:00am. The remaining dates for this season are November 6, December 11, January 15, February 12, March 12, and April 9. Guests can enjoy free house-blend coffee and conversation with coaches from across Drake's 18 sports.