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MVC tourney looms for Bulldogs

Column by Carly Grenfell

Carly GrenfellI feel like I say this every year, but it is hard to believe we have less than a month of basketball until the big show: the conference tournament.

It is not uncommon for teams to hit a wall in January or February. As we know it, basketball is a long, long season.

This time of the year especially is a grind. I can say that in my four years at Drake so far, our team tends to fall into this category.

This year, however, has been a little different.

And it has surely been different in a good way, as we have won the last five of six games.

Our one loss was to a very solid and ranked Wichita State team that just suffered its first conference loss of the season to Northern Iowa.

Since Wichita stepped foot in Panther territory just two days after we played them, I like to think they lost partly because we wore them out.

It is definitely a bummer that we did not pull that one out. But the glass is half full. Quite honestly, we are not that far off.

We have another two-game road swing coming up this weekend at Bradley and Loyola.

We beat Bradley the first time we played them in a record-setting night: 17 3-pointers as a team (10 of them from MVC Player of the Year prospect Kyndal Clark).

Loyola came down to the wire, and although we should have won, we did not capitalize when we needed to most.

These upcoming games are huge for us. Another road sweep will give us the momentum we need to finish out the last few conference games before the Missouri Valley Tournament.

After Loyola and Bradley, we face Indiana State, Illinois State and Northern Iowa all on our home court.

If that doesn’t scream “awesome opportunity,” I don’t know what does.

Indiana and Illinois were our first road games of the season, when our team was still figuring things out.

We have found our calm and our fun since then. Like I said last week, we are playing some of our best basketball right now.

We have players like Lizzy Wendell and Kyndal that step up when we need it most.

We have an offense that is not easy to scout.

We have defenses that throw teams for a loop.

We have kids that can shoot lights out.

We have sparks off the bench.

We have leadership.

So pretty much what I’m saying is that we have a lot of things.

These are our best weapons that will carry us into an exciting conference tournament.

Stay tuned, Bulldog fans. You are in for a treat.

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