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Drake takes down rival Creighton in opener

Story by Ashley Beall

Drake women’s basketball took down rival Creighton 62-55 Friday at Knapp Center.

“I’m just really proud of our effort, I thought that we came out and that we came out really strong,” said Drake head coach Jennie Baranczyk. “It was very obvious that our team was hungry and really wanted to defend their home court.”

Of of the past three times playing Creighton, this marked Drake’s first win against the Bluejays.

The Bulldogs came into the first half ready to go and battled basket for basket against the Bluejays.

Senior Morgan Reid played a major role in the Bulldogs’ win with 16 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and four steals, while junior Kyndal Clark had a team-high 19 points, four steals and five rebounds.

Freshman Lizzy Wendell also made her mark by coming off the bench and scored 13 points and had three assists and five rebounds. This was Wendell’s first time playing against Creighton, and she left a positive impression on the crowd and coaches.

“Lizzy’s line was incredible and, I think the most incredible part about her line was that she was able to play 33 minutes in her first game as a freshman,” Baranczyk said. “You talk about confidence, that’s a lot of confidence that not only the coaching staff has in her but her teammates have in her and she has in herself. She didn’t play like a freshman today. I’m really proud of her effort.”

The Bulldogs left the first half behind the Bluejays 30-26 and came back in the second half, guns blazing.

At the 10:06 mark in the game, Clark stepped up and scored back to back three-pointers which gave the bulldogs a boost to 44-41. After that, the Bulldogs never gave up their lead.

While the Bulldogs struggled with their three-point shot in the first half, only shooting 1-for-9, they came alive in the second half with 4-for-6. Defensively, the Bulldogs stepped up their game and attacked the ball and had several steals.

The crowd of 3,126 fans filled Knapp Center with cheers, which helped the Bulldogs.

“The crowd was awesome. We fed off of them, and we were really aware that they were on their feet, and we really loved the energy we provided,” Reid said.

“I think they (the crowd) fed off of Morgan’s energy today, I think she came out and was a warrior,” Baranczyk said.

“She knew it from the beginning ,and it was contagious throughout the game and you talk about confidence from one year to the next, and if Morgan can keep this confidence and continue to get better, I think our team is heading in the right direction, and more people going to come out.”

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