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DES MOINES, Iowa - The Drake women's basketball team will try for its first win of the season Sunday when the University of Illinois at Chicago visits the Knapp Center. Tip-off is set for 2:05 p.m.


The Bulldogs dropped their season opener to South Dakota, 74-69, at the Knapp Center last Sunday. Sophomore Kyndal Clark (Webb City, Mo.) scored a game-high 21 points and added six rebounds, while Morgan Reid (Kansas City, Mo.) pulled down a double-double with 11 points and 13 rebounds. The Bulldogs trailed by only four points at halftime, 41-37, but cold-shooting and a 13-2 run by the Coyotes at the start of the second half proved to be the difference in Drake head coach Jennie Baranczyk's first game.


Sophomore Liza Heap (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) played her best game against the Coyotes. The Colorado native recorded career-highs in points (12) and rebounds (5) in just 28 minutes. Ten of those points came in the second half and helped the Bulldogs nearly rally from a 16-point deficit. Her previous career-high was four points.


Illinois at Chicago knocked off Drake, 61-48, in the 2011-12 opener in Chicago, Ill. The Flames (0-1) dropped their opener to Truman State, 64-51 this season. Rachel Story scored 17 points and Katie Hannemann added 14 in the loss. The Flames bounced back with a win over SIU-Edwardsville, Thursday night, 68-61. Taylor Foulks scored 21 points to lead all scorers and Story added 17 points. UIC is coached by Regina Milller, who is in her second season at the helm. Miller has been a head coach for 18 seasons with stops at UNLV and Western Illinois and holds a 254-239 overall record. The Flames were picked to finish sixth in the Horizon League preseason poll.


Sunday's game is the sixth contest between the two schools with Drake holding a 4-1 advantage in the all-time series. UIC won the last meeting, 61-48, in Chicago last season for their only win in the series. The Bulldogs are 3-0 at home against the Flames with the last victory on November 21, 1997 in a game they won easily, 89-61. Drake is 13-7 all-time against teams from the Horizon League.


Former University of Iowa standout and Des Moines native, Jennie Baranczyk is in 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 is 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 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.


With the defeat by South Dakota in the Bulldogs' opener, Carol Baumgartner, who was the program's first head coach, remains the only Drake head coach to win her debut. The Bulldogs beat the Iowa Hawkeyes, 78-65 on November 20, 1974 in the program's first ever game.


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.


Baranczyk (Iowa), Bolte (Iowa State), Pohlman (Northern Iowa) and Graham (Mississippi St.) all played Division I basketball and the four scored 4,963 points combined. Baranczyk scored 1,762 career points followed by Bolte (1,639), Pohlman (1,463) and Graham (99).


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 held opponents to just 28.9 percent last season from behind the arc, which was just behind Wichita State (28.6 percent) and Creighton (28.8 percent) in the MVC. The Bulldogs held the Coyotes to just 3-of-13 (23.1 percent) from behind the three-point line.


Freshman Emma Donahue (Naperville, Ill.) and junior Mary Pat Specht (Shawnee, Kan.) were the only Drake newcomers to see the court in the South Dakota game. Specht played 13 minutes and knocked down a three-pointer and Donahue had two points.

2012-13 SCHEDULE

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 in 2011-12. 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.


The loss to the Coyotes gives the Bulldogs a 23-16 overall record in 39 debut games, dating back to the program's first game on Nov. 20, 1974 - a 78-65 home victory over Iowa. Drake dropped its season opener last year at Illinois at Chicago, 61-48.


The Bulldogs will have a large hole to fill in 2012-13 with the graduation of 2012 Jackie Stiles Player of the Year, Rachael Hackbarth. Hackbarth had one of the greatest seasons in school history. In addition to the conference player of the year award she was named Honorable Mention on the Associated Press All-America team and finished her career as the tenth all-time scorer in school history with 1,161 points. She also led the entire nation with 26 double-doubles.


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) followed the Bluejays to round out the top-five. Bradley (144), Indiana State (135), Southern Illinois (123), Drake (121) and Evansville (119) made up the lower half of the poll.


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 December 24 and 31.


This year, Drake Women's Basketball will hold a game day event, Bulldog Breakdown, prior to each home game. 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 for that day's game, 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 game, 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 and 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 your team.


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 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on the following dates: men's luncheons: December 4, January 22, February 5 and women's basketball luncheons: December 18, January 8, and February 19.


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

Baranczyk, 30, comes 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, Lillis 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 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 with her master's degree in Counseling and Student Development in 2007. 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 the couple have a son, Elijah, who was born on May 8, 2012.

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