By, HANNAH COHEN
Drake women’s basketball traveled to Vancouver Thanksgiving week for the inaugural tournament and added two wins and one loss to their now 6-1 record. The Bulldogs first faced Rutgers University, adding a win to Drake’s record and the Scarlet Knight’s first loss.
Rutgers took the first quarter outscoring Drake 20-6, leaving the Bulldogs to start with a 14-point deficit. In the second, both teams battled to tack on scores within one point of another making it 44-29 Rutgers at halftime.
“We weren’t scoring in the first half,” Brenni Rose, guard, said. “In the second half, we regrouped and started trusting in our system and in each other and came out with a lot of confidence and were able to crawl back in and grind out a win.”
The Bulldogs prevailed and only let Rutgers add 15 to the board in the last two quarters while Drake added on 40 giving them a 69-59 win and the opportunity to face No. 1 Notre Dame for the first meeting of both teams ever. This game proved to be another battle, which showed in the first quarter as both teams put up 17 on the board.
“That game was so awesome,” Rose said. “It was crazy to be with some of those girls that won a national championship last year. It was such a great experience with a really great atmosphere.”
The Fighting Irish asserted dominance from then on in the match keeping the lead after the teams traded baskets in the beginning of the second quarter. Notre Dame took the lead then on and got the win, 82-64.
“It was really cool to see how we were lined up against a team like that,” Rose said. “We came out of a game losing, but I think there are so many things we could have changed, and it could’ve been a closer game. We did compete with them for most of the game but with some easy fixes it could’ve been a way closer ending.”
After this loss to the No. 1 seed, Drake played South Carolina to finish out the tournament. Sarah Rhine, forward, and Rose led the Bulldogs each scoring 10 points to lead Drake in the first half. Rhine was also named as the MVC player of the week for the second straight week prior to the tournament.
“She is just a good a teammate as she is a basketball player,” Rose said. “She’s just such a fun and genuine person and doesn’t care what anyone on the outside thinks and is 100 percent into everything we do, making it so much easier for the rest of us.”
For the second half, Drake maintained the lead in the third by a mere two points and both teams went back and forth until the buzzer in the fourth when South Carolina captured the lead again leading to the first overtime of the season.
The Gamecocks went 0-5 of their last baskets in the game letting the Bulldogs get the win thanks to Drake’s team chemistry and 55 field goal percentage. Team leaders for this game included Rhine with 25 points, Becca Hittner, guard, with 19 and Rose with 17, both Rhine and Rose’s highs of the season so far.
“It was a very fast turn-around,” Rose said. “It was a really good test for us and we made a statement [for the MVC, too].”
Drake next plays Creighton (1-3) on Nov. 28 in Omaha prior to returning to the Knapp for their annual Pack the Knapp match sponsored by the Ray Center.
“After losing in four overtimes last year [against Creighton] we’re ready to get some revenge,” Rose said. “We have a ton of confidence right now moving forward. [Pack the Knapp] is just so much fun. Drake is Des Moines’s hometown team and it’s great to show those kids that and it’s also great for students to see what we’re all about and the whole community bonding together over basketball.”
PHOTO BY CHRIS DONAHUE