IOWA CITY, Iowa – The No. 22/25 Iowa Hawkeyes used a key second half scoring run to knock off the Drake Bulldogs, 73-51, on Saturday night at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
Drake (5-5) trailed just 28-24 at halftime and got within two-points at 32-30 after junior Kyndal Clark’s (Webb City, Mo.) three-pointer at the 17:36 mark in the second half. However, Iowa (11-2) answered with a 17-2 scoring run to take control of the game. Redshirt junior Carly Grenfell (York, Neb.) drilled a jumper with 10:52 remaining that ended a nearly six-minute long scoreless drought for the Bulldogs.
Sophomore Ashley Bartow (Verona, Wis.) tallied a season-high 16 points and added seven rebounds, one assist and one steal. Freshman Lizzy Wendell (Blue Springs, Mo.), coming off her career-high of 22 points in Tuesday’s win over SIUE, narrowly missed her second career double-double with nine points and 11 boards. Clark added eight points and four boards.
“We played a top-25 team on their home floor and I think we hung with them for moments of the game,” said head coach Jennie Baranczyk. “We obviously did not have a great shooting game like we had been, and I think a part of that is them and a part of that is us. It is a tale of two halves. The first half, we were there and the second half, we were not.”
The Bulldogs struggled from the floor and beyond the arc finishing at 29.5 percent (18-of-61) and 20.7 percent (6-of-29), respectively for the game. Drake committed 21 turnovers as Iowa converted 31 points off of the total.
The opening half was a back-and-forth affair that featured 10 lead changes and three score ties as neither team would lead by more than five points. Iowa went into the break with a 28-24 advantage, as neither team shot the ball well especially beyond the arc. The Hawkeyes made two three-pointers, while the Bulldogs had just one.
“I think that they did a lot of things,” commented Baranczyk on what turned the game. “We really stopped attacking on offense. We tried to pass around the horn a little too much and we needed a little more ‘inside, outside.’ We turned the ball over and that was a huge problem for us. A lot of that was somewhat forced and indecision that we had not had in the last couple of weeks.”
Baranczyk, who played at Iowa from 2000-04 under former Drake head coach and current Iowa coach Lisa Bluder, was asked in the postgame press conference how it felt returning to her collegiate arena for the first time as a head coach.
“I was ready for our team to compete, honestly,” said Baranczyk. “That was what I wanted, that was what our staff wanted, and that was what our program wanted. I think we did that for a lot of the game but there were a couple minutes where we did not. But we will be back again and keep playing. We still have a lot of season left and that is what I am really looking forward to.”
Drake will take a break for the holiday returning to the court next Sunday, Dec. 29 when they welcome Milwaukee to the Knapp Center. Tipoff with the Panthers is scheduled for 2:05 p.m.