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Sophomore Diaries: Looking back on the Bulldogs’ magical run

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Grenfell is a sophomore public relations and management double major and can be contacted at carly.grenfell@drake.edu.

I knew from day one there was something special about this team. And as I sit here itching to tell everyone what it is, I’m struggling to find the words. Our season can be defined in one simple way: The will to win. Nothing stopped us. Nothing deterred us from being the team we knew we could be. And quite frankly, adversity grew to be our best friend, whether we liked it or not.

Slowly, but surely, our roster was down to a solid eight players by the time the conference tournament rolled around. Did we dwell on it? Not at all. Did we use it as an excuse? Far from it. All I know is we picked the right time to peak. After our first-round win against Evansville, it was all up from there.

Our second game was against the No. 2 seed, Illinois State. They swept us in conference play, so we were definitely out for revenge. We started a little shaky, but I could tell from the get-go that we were going to win that game. It was a tie game with less than 20 seconds left, and we had the ball. Freshman Kyndal Clark finished beautifully at the buzzer — Drake victory. I get goose bumps talking about it.

Next came Wichita State. They swept us previously, too. Anyone who was at this game or watched it on TV may or may not have suffered a heart attack. We came out on fire. And I mean ON FIRE, shooting over 80 percent from the 3-point line at the half. But as you know, basketball is a game of runs. After a 12-point lead, Wichita State cranked up the press. Fortunately, the game never fully got away from us. We were well on our way to the championship.

It was the first time for everyone on our team competing for a championship. Although the results weren’t what we hoped for, it was the best three days of basketball I’ve ever experienced. And I’m sure my teammates would say the same. The emotional highs of that weekend were incredible. It doesn’t get much better than upsetting two teams because of clutch performances. What can I say? We were ballin’ out the gym.

Despite the loss, that was the closest our team has ever been to a championship. And I know it has left us all hungry for more. I mean, think about it, we were 40 minutes away from making it to the Big Dance. Who DOESN’T want that? A team can sulk about a tough loss or use it as motivation. I’m confident we will choose the second option. I promised my mom we would win a championship within the next three years. I’m not one to break promises.

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