DES MOINES, Iowa - Drake head coach Jennie Baranczyk earned her first career win Sunday as the Drake women's basketball team rallied to beat the University of Illinois at Chicago, 71-61, at the Knapp Center in front of 1,803 fans. The Bulldogs improved to 1-1 on the season with the win and the Flames fall to 1-2 with the loss.
Carly Grenfell (York, Neb.) scored a career-high 23 points on 8-of-12 shooting to lead the Bulldogs. Grenfell and Kyndal Clark (Webb City, Mo.) each knocked down a career-high five three-pointers. Clark set her new career-high with 22 points, including some clutch buckets during the rally and to help extend the lead.
"I'm so proud of our effort today, it was a great collective effort," Baranczyk said. "Morgan was phenemonal with all the rebounds and chasing down loose balls especially at the end. Carly had a great effort across the board and Kyndal really played within herself today and led this team."
The Flames were led by Rachel Story, who had 18 points and Emily Kobel added 16. Drake held UIC's other offensive threat, Taylor Foulks to just three points. Drake's stingy defense limited UIC to just 19.4 percent (6-of-31) from behind the arc and 30.8 percent (21-of-53) from the field.
The second half was close early before the Flames used a 14-7 run midway through the period to take a seven-point lead, 56-49, with ten minutes remaining in the game.
Facing their largest deficit of the afternoon, the Bulldogs used a 7-0 run, capped by a three-pointer by Grenfell, to knot the game at 56 with 7:11 remaining in the game. Drake extended their run to 19-4, with the help of tight defense and rebounding by Ashley Bartow (Verona, Wis.). The freshman played just six minutes but hit two free throws, grabbed four rebounds and had a key steal late that led to Drake points.
The first half was a back-and-forth affair, with Drake taking a 35-32 advantage into halftime. The combination of Clark and Grenfell provided the majority of the Bulldogs' offense in the half as the two accounted for 25 points.
The Bulldogs will travel this week to the Aggie Hotel Encanto Thanksgiving Classic hosted by New Mexico State in Las Cruces, N.M. UC Irvine will be Drake's first opponent, with tipoff scheduled for 3:30 p.m. CST on Friday. The following evening Drake will play either New Mexico State or George Mason. Live stats for both games will be available on GoDrakeBulldogs.com.