BY JOE MILLER PHOTO KATIE KURKA
The Drake women’s basketball team began competitive play last week, playing exhibition matches against Winona State and MidAmerica Nazarene University. Drake finished the week undefeated, delivering a 74-63 win against Winona State, and a decisive victory against MNU 106-62.
Winona State looked to be a worthy opponent of the Bulldogs and proved it by opening the game with an 11-4 run.
Drake started off the game cold, missing their first eight three-pointers. A triple from junior guard Paige Greiner ended the cold streak and sparked a Bulldog rally that would bring them right back into the game. The Bulldogs finished off the quarter trailing by just one, 20-19.
Drake’s dynamic offensive began to come alive during the second quarter, as they would outscore the Warriors 24-12 in the frame. Drake found their touch shooting and began the quarter on a 13-2 run. They rode the momentum to a 10-point halftime lead.
The Bulldog’s did not let halftime slow down the scoring machine, jumping out to a 17 point lead thanks to an early 9-2 run to open up the half. Drake kept the deficit at double digits for the rest of the quarter, pushing the lead to as much as 20.
The Bulldogs began to play on the defensive in the final frame to protect their lead. After only allowing 12 points in the final quarter, Drake cruised to a convincing 74-63 win.
Senior forward Lizzy Wendell led the Bulldog offense with a 22 point performance, followed closely by sophomore forward Sara Rhine who added 15.
Wendell went an impressive 50 percent from the floor, although she lost the touch from beyond the arc, only making 2 of 10.
The Bulldogs put up 48 three-balls but only converted on 25 percent of them.
Rhine dished out eight of the Bulldogs 21 assists, leading the squad in that category.
Drake dominated inside the paint, outscoring Winona State 28-18 in the paint. The Warriors did, however, lead the Bulldogs in fastbreak points, second-chance points and bench points.
The Bulldogs took the momentum from their first win and rode into their next matchup against MNU.
Drake began the game with two quick 3-pointers from sophomore guard Nicole Miller and Wendell, and the score didn’t slow down from there.
Drake would finish the first quarter with an eight point lead, then push it to 14 at the halftime break.
The Bulldogs continued to utilize their offense, scoring 50 points in the half and finishing with a 49 percent field goal percentage.
A 13-0 run early in the third quarter to put the game out of reach for MNU. The Bulldogs would outscore their opponent 33-10 in the third quarter, dominating the game at both ends. Drake widened the margin even further, pushing it to 48 at one time in the fourth quarter, and coasted to an easy 106-62 win.
The Bulldog offense was the big story in the game, as all five Drake starters finished in the double figures, led in scoring by Wendell with 25 and Rhine with 20.
Senior gaurd Caitlin Ingle had 13 assits, leading the team in that category. Drake’s high-powered offense shot with a hot hand, posting a 52 percent field goal percentage.
The Bulldog’s transition game started to take shape. They scored 20 points off of turnovers, and had 20 fast break points. In addition to the fast-paced play, Drake also grinded out 54 points in the paint.
Drake also put up a phenomenal performance on the boards, pulling in 56 rebounds to MNU’s 24, a 32 rebound deficit. Sophomore guard Sammie Bachrodt led the Bulldogs in rebounds with 11.
Drake will look to keep up that success in the regular season, which opens with a game against North Dakota State University on Nov. 11 at 3 p.m. at the Knapp Center.