The biggest question Drake faces heading into the 2011-12 season: Who will replace Kristin Turk’s MVC-best 20.0 points per game? Senior Rachael Hackbarth is a prime candidate to shoulder the load, but she will need a sidekick. If nobody else steps up as another go-to scorer in key situations, the Bulldogs could experience a lot of heartbreaking losses.
With a roster loaded with young talent, Drake will depend heavily on its lowerclassmen. Sophomore Morgan Reid, who was second on the team in rebounding last season, will need to be a force inside to compliment Hackbarth. The Bulldogs also need some of their highly touted freshmen recruits to step in immediately. Another question mark is redshirt junior point guard Brittnye McSparron. McSparron missed plenty of time the last two years due to injuries, and Drake will heavily depend on her to lead its young team.
Second half play
Last season, Drake outscored its opponents by a combined 24 points in the first half of games. The second half of games is where the Bulldogs struggled. Opponents outscored Drake by a combined 55 points in the final 20 minutes of contests. This deficit led to plenty of tough losses for the Bulldogs to swallow. Drake must solve this problem in order to contend in the Missouri Valley Conference this season.
The void of Kristin Turk
Not only did Turk lead Drake in scoring, but she led the team in assists (93), steals (81) and minutes played (1059). Second in assists was senior Amber Wollschlager (67), in steals was Reid (37) and in minutes was Hackbarth (859). Those are whopping gaps the Bulldogs must fill if they want to improve this season. However, Turk also led the team in shots (470) and turnovers (110). Drake may benefit from depending more on the team instead of just one player.
Sometimes, the truth hurts. The truth is that the MVC is loaded this season, and the Bulldogs were selected in a preseason poll to finish seventh. Missouri State returns its top seven scorers and is an overwhelming favorite to capture the conference crown. Drake has no players who were selected on the preseason All-MVC team. Defending back-to-back State Farm MVC Championship winners Northern Iowa is strong once again and is expected to finish second. All signs point to the Bulldogs not having enough to compete with these top squads.