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Women's Basketball Set To Face Evansville In Quarterfinals Of MVC Tournament

Courtesy: Drake Athletics
         
Release: March 12, 2014
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ST. CHARLES, Mo. – No. 5 seed Drake University takes on fourth-seeded Evansville on Friday, March 14, at 2:37 p.m. in its first game at the Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Basketball Championship in St. Charles, Mo. You can listen to Larry Cotlar and former Drake player Ashleigh Brady call the action on 1350 KRNT and the game will be streamed online for free at Valley-Live.tv. Live stats will be available at www.GoDrakeBulldogs.com.

DRAKE QUICKLY

  • The Drake University (15-14, 9-9 MVC) women’s basketball team closed the regular season with a 67-66 victory over the Illinois State Redbirds last Saturday at the Knapp Center.
  • Junior Kyndal Clark (Webb City, Mo.) played all 40 minutes and had a game-high 26 points along with four rebounds, four assists and three steals, while freshman Lizzy Wendell (Blue Springs, Mo.) scored 17 points. Freshman Caitlin Ingle (Runnells, Iowa) chipped in 15 points, three boards and three assists.
  • Ingle’s layup with 12 seconds remaining in the game was the difference as Drake rallied from a one-point deficit (66-65) with 1:05 on the clock. The Bulldogs had two critical defensive stands in the final 52 seconds, including one at the buzzer, to snap a three-game losing skid to the Redbirds.
  • Drake ended the regular season taking eight out of its final 11 games, with the losses to co-champions, Indiana State and Wichita State and third-place UNI.
  • The hot finish helped the Bulldogs clinch the fifth seed for the tournament their highest seed since they secured the No. 3 seed for the 2009 championship.
  • Clark leads the conference in scoring at 19.6 points per game, while Wendell ranks fifth at 16.1 points per game.
  • Clark has been prolific from beyond the arc this year with a school and MVC record 108 three-pointers, including setting a new Drake single-game mark with 10 against Loyola on Jan. 24. Her 108 three-pointers surpassed the previous record of 104 that Melody Howard of Missouri State hit during the 1993-94 campaign.
  • The all-time NCAA women’s basketball single-season record for three’s is 126 held by two players (Lisa McMullen, Alabama State, 1991 and Sade Logan, Robert Morris, 2008).
  • Clark’s 3.72 three’s per game average currently leads the nation.
  • Wendell, who joined exclusive Valley company by scoring 400-plus points in her debut season, currently has 468 points to set a record for most points by a Drake freshman in a MVC season. Carla Bennett held the previous mark of 423 points in 1999-2000.
  • Wendell is the only player in The Valley ranked in the top-20 in each of the following statistical categories: scoring, rebounding, field-goal percentage, assists, blocks, free-throw percentage, steals, three-point shooting percentage, and three-pointers per game.
  • Wendell averaged 22.5 points, 3.5 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 1.5 assists in the final week of the season to capture her league-leading eighth MVC newcomer of the week accolade.
  • Drake light up the scoreboard during the regular season as it paced the league in scoring at 72.0 points per game. The Bulldogs also led the MVC in scoring in league play at 74.3 points per game. Drake has tallied 90-plus points in four games in 2013-14.
  • This will be the seventh straight-season that the MVC Women's Basketball Tournament will be played on a neutral site. Previously, institutional home arenas were utilized as hosts for the first 22 conference tournaments. Just six Division I conferences host stand-alone women's basketball tournaments (Big Ten, Big 12, ACC, SEC, Pac-12 and MVC).
  • Drake has won 34 MVC tournament games, which ranks second only to Missouri State who has won 36 games.
  • Clark and Wendell were selected to the All-MVC first team, while Ingle joined Wendell on the All-MVC Freshman team, the league announced Wednesday. Junior Liza Heap (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) earned honorable mention All-MVC Scholar-Athlete honors Tuesday.

EVANSVILLE

  • Drake is the last team to knock off Evansville (15-14, 10-8 MVC) as the Purple Aces have ripped off eight-straight wins since the Bulldogs’ 72-57 victory on Feb. 6. Three of those wins were against Indiana State, Wichita State and UNI.
  • Drake and Evansville split the season series with the road team grabbing the win in each contest.
  • Evansville’s blistering finish to the year helped it secure its best seed for St. Charles since it was the second seed in 2008.
  • Freshman Sara Dickey leads the team and ranks second behind Clark in the league in scoring at 18.0 points per game.
  • Junior Mallory Ladd, who missed the game on Feb. 6 due to an injury, is second on the squad in scoring at 11.7 points per game, while pulling down a team-leading 9.3 rebounds per game.

DRAKE VS. EVANSVILLE

The Bulldogs snapped a three-game losing streak to the Purple Aces with their road win on Feb. 6. Prior to the losing streak, Drake had an 11-game winning streak against Evansville that stretched from 2008-12. Drake is 5-0 all-time versus Evansville in the MVC Tournament, with the last win a 52-48 decision in the opening round of the 2012 championship.

UP NEXT

If Drake gets past Evansville it will play the winner of top-seeded Indiana State and No. 8 Loyola or No. 9 Bradley in the semifinals on Saturday afternoon at 1:37 p.m. at The Family Arena.

PROTECT THE ROCK

In Drake’s wins this season the team is averaging 14.1 turnovers per game compared to 16.0 in its losses. In the Bradley win on Jan. 26 and the UNI win on Feb. 2, Drake committed just eight turnovers in each game, which according to Drake historian, Paul Morrison, is the third lowest game total in Drake history.

SHARE THE ROCK

Drake is second in the MVC in assists per game at 14.3, but the Bulldogs are the only team with four players ranked in the top-20 individually in assists per game. Alyssa Marschner (Plymouth, Minn.) is seventh at 3.0, while Ingle is ninth at 2.8. Clark and Wendell are the other two in 12th (2.7) and t-16th (2.2), respectively. Ingle leads the league in points/assists double-doubles with two in her first season. Larryn Brooks of Indiana is the only other freshman in the country with two points/assists double-doubles in 2013-14.

WELCOME TO THE CLUB

Clark reached 1,000 career points on a free throw with 1:30 left in the game at Indiana State on Jan. 5 and is the 24rd player in Drake women’s basketball history to score 1,000 or more career points. Clark, who has poured in 567 points in her junior campaign, has climbed to 17th all-time with 1,352 career points. Clark is the first Bulldog to score 1,000 or more points since Rachael Hackbarth accomplished the feat during the 2010-11 campaign. She scored in double-figures in 12-straight games to end the regular season.

INSTANT IMPACT

Wendell continues to shine for the Bulldogs in her debut season as she’s earned a school-record eight MVC Newcomer of the Week awards. She is averaging the second-highest point total (16.1) among freshmen in The Valley behind Dickey. Wendell won newcomer honors on Nov. 11, Dec. 2, Dec. 31, Feb. 3, Feb. 10, Feb. 17, March 3 and March 10. She has tallied double-figure points in 24 games, along with eight 20-plus scoring games. She is just the 10th Valley freshman to score 400 or more points in their debut season. Two former Drake standouts are in that club, Tammi Blackstone tallied 400 points in 1996-97 and Carla Bennett had 430 points in 1999-2000.

RISE AND FIRE

Clark’s 108 three-pointers are more than double what Dickey and Anna Munn of Indiana State (53) made for second place in the league. Clark is second in The Valley in three-point shooting percentage at 43.4 percent, while Wendell is fourth at 38.0 percent and Carly Grenfell (York, Neb.) is 12th at 31.1 percent (33-of-106). Clark has made 108-of-249 three-pointers, while the league-leader, Lexi Hughes of Missouri State, has made just 33-of-71 (46.5 percent). Clark’s three-point percentage is the 12th best in the nation.

RISE AND FIRE AS A TEAM

As a team, the Bulldogs shoot the ball exceptionally from long range and from the field as they rank first in The Valley in three-point percentage at 35.3 percent and second in field goal percentage at 43.2 percent. Six different Bulldogs have hit at least 16 three-pointers in the 2013-14 campaign.

RECORD DAY

Drake smashed the previous mark for three-pointers (14) in a game in its win over Bradley on Jan. 26 with 17 against the Braves as five different Bulldogs each hit two or more. Earlier this year against Coastal Carolina the Bulldogs tied the record with 14, which was set by the 2000-01 Drake team against Indiana State. Drake’s 97 points scored against Bradley (Jan. 26) and UNI (March 2) are the most since it had 90 in a win over Central Michigan during the 2010-11 campaign and the most in a MVC game since pouring in 95 on SIU in 2001-02. The Bulldogs have connected for 10 or more three balls in 14 games this season, including eight of their last nine games.

PACK THE KNAPP

The Bulldogs finished in the number two spot in total attendance in the conference in 2013-14. Drake averaged 2,546 fans per game, which finished behind Missouri State at 2,976 fans per game.

ON THE ROAD AGAIN

Drake opened its conference season on the road for the sixth-straight season when it visited Illinois State to start MVC action. In addition, the Bulldogs have started their MVC slate on the road in 10 of the last 11 seasons. The loss to the Redbirds dropped Drake’s record to 18-13 all-time in MVC openers with a 10-12 record on the road. Drake and Illinois State have met five times in Valley openers with the Redbirds holding a slight, 3-2, advantage.

PROTECT THE HOME COURT

Drake’s thrilling 74-72 comeback victory over SIU on Jan. 10 improved its all-time record in MVC home openers to 18-3, including taking eight out of the last 10 at the Knapp Center.

FIRST TIME FOR EVERYTHING

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.

TIE BROKEN

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.

BREAKTHROUGH

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 their previous three overtime games before knocking off the Coyotes.

SWEET HOMECOMING

Junior Liza Heap (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) 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.

PAY IT FORWARD

The Drake University women’s basketball program hosted its first-ever “Pay It Forward” game presented by the West Des Moines Sheraton 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.

COMING HOME

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.

RIVALRY QUICKLY RENEWED

The Drake Bulldogs hold a 38-24 advantage in the all-time series against the Creighton Bluejays after their 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

PRESSURE DEFENSE

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.

DRAKE IN SEASON-OPENERS

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

BULLDOGS TABBED FOURTH

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.

EARLY SEASON RECOGNITION

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.

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 was tabbed the MVC Preseason Player of the Year.

EXPERIENCE MATTERS

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, Ingle and Wendell, join two seniors, four juniors and two sophomores on the 2013-14 Drake roster.

EXPERIENCE MATTERS PART TWO

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 seventh 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.

SEE YOU NEXT YEAR

The Drake University women’s basketball team signed three high school student-athletes for the 2014-15 season, this past November, 2013. The Bulldogs inked guard Maddy Dean (Jordan, Minn.), point guard Paige Greiner (Williamsburg, Iowa) and post Becca Jonas (Independence, Mo.) to National Letters of Intent.

Dean, from Jordan, Minn., is a 5-9 guard who has earned all-state honors her sophomore and junior years. During her junior season at Jordan High School, she averaged 21 points, 10 rebounds and 4 assists per game. She was named MVP of the Minnesota River Valley Conference her junior year and has helped the Jaguars capture consecutive conference titles the past two seasons.

Greiner, from Williamsburg, Iowa, is a 5-5 point guard who averaged 15.1 points, 3.96 assists and 3.16 assists per game in her junior season at Williamsburg High School on her way to being named first-team all-state by the Iowa Girls’ Athletic Coaches Association. A standout in basketball, softball and track and field, Greiner, has lettered in each her first three years and has participated in the Drake Relays.

Rounding out the 2014-15 class is Jonas from Independence, Mo., who plays for Truman High School. A 6-2 forward/center she has helped the Patriots win consecutive Suburban Six Conference championships, while being named first-team all-conference the past two seasons. Jonas averaged 15 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks per game her junior season and was selected first-team all-state.

DRAKE HEAD COACH JENNIE BARANCZYK

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. She qualified for postseason play every season as an assistant coach and as a player.

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.

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. The couple is expecting their second child in March, 2014.

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