Photo: Joel Venzke
Drake women’s basketball will take on the University of California, Irvine in its first game of the Aggie Hotel Encanto Thanksgiving Classic on Friday, Nov. 23 in Las Cruces, N.M.
“It’s going to be our first road test. It’s always fun to see how a team can really get together and come together and go somewhere kind of different and kind of fun, and we really get to grow as a team and as a family,” said head coach Jennie Baranczyk.
This is the first time the Bulldogs have participated in the tournament. In previous years, the team has travelled to Cancun and the Grand Canyon. This will also be the first time that many of its freshmen players have been away from home during Thanksgiving.
“Because we’re going to be there during Thanksgiving, the coaches are doing a good job of planning events. Like on Thursday, we are having a team Thanksgiving dinner, and fans are welcome to come to it,” said sophomore Kyndal Clark. “They’re really trying to put forth that effort and trying to find fun things for us to do so we can go out and experience something while we’re there.”
With the tournament quickly approaching, the team has several goals it hopes to accomplish.
“I remember my freshman year, that (being away from home) was a little hard. It starts to hit you, and you get a little homesick so us having that dinner and having some of our families there, and just being together will help. We’ll be a new family,” said junior Morgan Reid. We just want to play well as a team and have a lot more chemistry together.”
The Anteaters own a 0-3 record after losing to Santa Clara, San Diego State and Nevada. In order to be successful, the Bulldogs need to work on pushing hard to achieve their objectives.
“We need to keep continuing on our goals as far as rebounding, communication and specific communication and continue working on getting all our flaws out,” Clark said.
Winning the tournament will be a challenge since the Bulldogs have to play back-to-back days without a day of rest in between, a pace they typically only face in the conference tournament.
“Since we have a lot of newcomers, it’s not something we’re really used to, and that’s something that comes for us later in the season, and we just need to get our bodies ready and mentally ready also,” Reid said.
Depending on whether or not the Bulldogs are able to beat UC Irvine, they will face George Mason (2-0) or New Mexico State (1-1) on Saturday, Nov. 24.
“We need to continue to do the little things because that is what will make us better,” Clark said. “I think we’re going to be the best team (there).”
The Bulldogs took on Illinois at Chicago yesterday at the Knapp Center. Results from that game will be available in the next issue of The Times-Delphic.