by HANNAH COHEN
Drake women’s basketball upped their season record to 2-0 this past Sunday in the Knapp taking down in-state rival No. 24 Iowa State with a mere 86-81 win.
Throughout the first half, the lead changed five times until Drake held down on defense and stepped up on offense which was slower than usual throughout the game.
“Women’s basketball is one of my favorite things about being in the state of Iowa,” Coach Jennie Baranczyk said. “I don’t care if you go back to Hilton I don’t care if you come back to the Knapp Center it’s a great game for women’s basketball and I’m really proud of the way we
finished the game.”
Sara Rhine led the Bulldogs for the second game straight in scoring hitting 2 3 including two back-to-back threes after a layup getting a 8-0 run with two minutes left in the first period to leave Drake trailing by four points, 24-19.
“We’ve always been able to shoot threes and that’s something that we’ll continue to do,” Baranczyk said. “We don’t necessarily live and die by it but that’s something they were giving us and a lot of that is because I thought Sara did a really nice job in the paint.”
In the second quarter points came in for the first three minutes under free throws until Becca Hittner shot a three and Maggie Negaard and Rhine followed. Rhine’s three put the Bulldogs over the Cyclones breaking a tie to make it 31-28 halfway through the second. Kierra Collier gained some ground too aiding her 62.5 shooting percentage just behind Rhine’s leading 76.9 for the game.
“It is a team win we can’t do what we do without every single member of our team and I think that was there today in every play that we had,” Rhine said. “We felt super connected on both ends and we controlled what we could.”
After halftime both teams reconvened to the Cyclone’s scoring deficit of only 11 points in the second to lose their lead yet Drake’s offense and defense were back ready to fight. Threes kept coming at the right time and the team as a whole made 15, beating State’s eight successful threes who led the NCAA with draining at least 200 three-pointers in the last 16 seasons, 200 now being a logical number for the Bulldogs after Monica Burich made two and Maddie Monahan clutched another, adding even more shooters to Drake’s lineup going .500 for threes in this quarter making the game-high lead to 17 by Drake.
“This was the offense we needed to execute during the whole game,” Rose said. “We got our act together here and in the fourth before luckily it was too late. We are fortunate so many of our players can and do score.”
Both teams battled in the fourth exchanging baskets until the Cyclones trailed the Bulldogs by only one point trimming their lead down with five minutes left and the Knapp Center filled with stress. Hannah Fuller brought the lead back up to three by draining yet another three but it slimmed down to a one-point difference once more as State kept getting fouled and making their free throws 9-10 in the second half.
“When we can bounce off of each other through some of that stuff that’s huge,” Hittner said.
Brenni Rose hit another three with under just two minutes left in the game getting Drake a six-point lead gap. After a pair of successful threes from State, Rhine and Hittner made three two point baskets to increase the gap once more and finalize it with Monahan’s free throw made with 11 seconds left on the clock to cap the game, 86-81 as payback from Drake’s loss to State last year in Ames.
“Obviously there’s going to be things that we’ve got to work on and Iowa State’s a great basketball team, but it’s fun to say that this is actually a rivalry and we’re pretty proud of that,” added Hittner.
The Bulldogs head to South Dakota State for a match Wednesday with hopes to gain their third win of the season and third win versus a 2019 NCAA Tournament Team at 7 p.m. before returning to Des Moines to host Creighton on Saturday the 16th at 6 p.m. This is the White-Out match where fans should come dressed in white to support the Bulldogs
to unite all fans in the same clothing.