Why they won’t win:
1. No Rachael Hackbarth
The Bulldogs no longer have the presence of MVC Player of the Year Rachael Hackbarth in the middle. Hackbarth led Drake in nearly every major statistical category and even though Drake will likely fill the void of Hackbarth’s productivity, you can never fill the shoes of someone as dominant as Hackbarth.
2. Learning the ropes
Head coach Jennie Baranczyk is not only in her first year at Drake, she’s also in her first year as a head coach. Baranczyk certainly has the resume and experience to suggest that she will go on to have a successful coaching career. However, a first-time coach is expected to go through growing pains and Baranczyk will have to adjust to life in the MVC. Baranczyk is the second-youngest woman head coach in Division 1.
3. A new system
Without Rachael Hackbarth inside, the Bulldogs will no longer rely on slowing down the pace and feeding the post. Drake will look to speed up the tempo and space the floor. The Bulldogs should take a while to adjust and learn their new offense.
Other than sophomore Kyndal Clark, the Bulldogs lack consistent scorers. Drake will need senior Stephanie Running and redshirt sophomore Carly Grenfell to ‘up’ their game offensively. They will need junior Morgan Reid to continue to develop her offensive game and will need their freshmen to score right away.
The season will tell just how experienced these Bulldogs are. As of right now, the team consists of one senior, three juniors, five sophomores and four freshmen. The sophomore class is arguably the class that has the most experience under its belt, so it will be interesting to see if experience plays a role for Drake down the stretch.