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  • Hunter Phillips

Be Blue Non-Conference Preview


The anticipation for the 2022-23 Drake women's basketball season continues to build as the non-conference schedule is hot off the presses. The Bulldogs return four starters and 10 letterwinners from last seasons team that finished 20-14 and advanced to the Round of 16 in the WNIT. Drake has won 20 or more games in 25 seasons and has reached the postseason in eight consecutive years.


A challenging non-conference slate awaits the Bulldogs. Five opponents (Creighton, Iowa, Iowa State, Nebraska, South Dakota) finished 35th or better in the NCAA women's basketball NET rankings. Three of those same opponents (Creighton, Iowa State, South Dakota) reached the Sweet 16 in last years NCAA Tournament. The eight teams listed below finished 173-80 last season, a 68.3 winning percentage.


Get to know the opponents Drake will collide with this season.


** Does not include exhibition games


Nov. 9 - vs. Green Bay

Hailey Oskey (left) paced Green Bay in scoring last season. (UW-Green Bay Athletics)

Conference: Horizon League

2021-22 Record: 19-8 (14-4)

Head Coach: Kevin Borseth (454-132, 20th season)

Series History: Green Bay leads 6-2


Drake hosts Green Bay in the first of three consecutive home games to tip-off the 2022-23 campaign. Over 90 percent of the scoring output returns for a Green Bay program that finished 19-8, including a 14-4 record in the Horizon League last season. Following a setback in the semifinals at the Horizon League Tournament, the Phoenix received an at-large bid to the WNIT and fell in the first round to Minnesota. Kevin Borseth returns for his 20th season at the helm in Green Bay. Entering his 36th season overall as a head coach, Borseth ranks eighth among active NCAA women's head coaches with 766 career victories.


By the Numbers & Players to Watch


A stalwart defensive program, Green Bay held opponents to 55.8 points per contest last season ranking 19th in the NCAA per Her Hoop Stats. Inside the three-point arc is where the competition struggled. The Phoenix led the nation in two-point defense, surrendering an average of 12.0 field goals made per game. Additionally, Green Bay took advantage of its trips to the line, connecting on 78.6 percent of their free throw attempts (10th NCAA).


Senior Hailey Oskey is the top returning scorer for Green Bay. The 5'10" guard averaged 12.5 points per contest and was named First Team All-Horizon League. Maddy Schreiber led the Phoenix in rebounding (4.2), blocks (14), and field goal (.490) and free throw percentage (.880). The Appleton, WI native was selected to the Horizon League's All-Freshman Team. Tatum Koenig arrives in Green Bay following four productive seasons at Bradley. Starting in 99 games for the Braves, Koenig's 361 career assists placed her fourth in program history.


Series History


For the second time in series history Drake and Green Bay will meet in the regular season opener. That encounter, which also took place in the Knapp Center, resulted in a 78-66 victory for the Phoenix on Nov. 9, 2007. Coincidentally, that evening represented Allison Pohlman's first game as an assistant coach at Drake under then-head coach Amy Stephens. The Bulldogs would avenge that loss the following March with a 65-56 win over Green Bay in the WNIT. The Phoenix have won four consecutive meetings since, the last coming on Nov. 28, 2020 in Wisconsin.


 

Nov. 13 - vs. Iowa

Caitlin Clark (left) led the country in scoring and assists in 2021-22. (The Gazette)

Conference: Big Ten

2021-22 Record: 24-8 (14-4)

Head Coach: Lisa Bluder (463-242, 23rd season)

Series History: Iowa leads 28-25


A pair of programs from the Big Ten Conference travel to Des Moines in a six-day span beginning with the Iowa Hawkeyes. Fresh off a historic campaign, Iowa returns all five starters and 11 letterwinners from a squad that took the Big Ten regular season and tournament crown(s). Earning a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, the Hawkeyes' season would come to an abrupt end with a second round loss to No. 10 Creighton. Lisa Bluder enters her 23rd season in Iowa City. The all-time winningest coach in program history, Bluder is one-of-five active Division I women's head coaches with 815 or more victories. 188 of those wins came at Drake where Bluder was head coach from 1990-99.


By the Numbers & Players to Watch


An efficient offensive unit, Iowa led the nation in field goal percentage (.502), finished second in scoring offense (84.2), and third in assists per game (19.6) last season. Additionally, the Hawkeyes points per 100 possessions (111.0) and points per scoring attempt (1.20) were tops in the country per Her Hoop Stats.


Caitlin Clark has quickly become one of the most recognizable names in college basketball. As a sophomore, Clark's 8.0 assists per contest, 27.0 points per game, 200 free throws made, and 5 triple-doubles ranked first in the nation. The accolades would follow as Clark was named the Nancy Lieberman Point Guard of the Year, the Dawn Staley Guard of the Year, the Big Ten Player of the Year, and an AP All-American. Honorable Mention All-American Monika Czinano led the country in field goal percentage (.679) and ranked 12th in points per game (21.2). McKenna Warnock averaged 11.2 points per contest and garnered Second Team All-Big Ten honors. Finally, Molly Davis (Central Michigan transfer). Hannah Stuelke (2022 Miss Iowa Basketball), and Taylor McCabe (2022 Miss Nebraska Basketball) highlight a talented group of newcomers.


Series History


The in-state rivals meet on the hardwood for the 54th time. Iowa has held a firm grip on the series in recent years winning 18 of the last 19 meetings. Drake and Iowa did not face one another last season due to a COVID cancellation. Despite the Hawkeyes' success, the Bulldogs are 15-13 when taking the court against Iowa in Des Moines. Drake's last victory in the series came on Dec. 18, 2016 in the Knapp Center. A freshman by the name of Becca Hittner recorded a double-double (14 points, 10 rebounds) that day.


 

Nov. 19 - vs. Nebraska

Alexis Markowski (left) was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 2021-22. (Nebraska Athletics)

Conference: Big Ten

2021-22 Record: 24-9 (11-7)

Head Coach: Amy Williams (96-84, 7th season)

Series History: Nebraska leads 12-10


Drake welcomes Nebraska to Iowa's capital city for the first time since 2017. All five starters and nine letterwinners are running it back for a Huskers team that won their first 12 games, finished sixth in the Big Ten standings, and qualified for the NCAA Tournament as a No. 8 seed a year ago. Nebraska eventually fell to No. 9 Gonzaga in the first round. Entering her seventh season at her alma mater, head coach Amy Williams has guided the Huskers to a pair of NCAA Tournament and WNIT appearances.


By the Numbers & Players to Watch


Nebraska's well-balanced offense produced the seventh-best scoring output in the country (77.8) last season. With multiple long range shooters, the Huskers shot 35.7 percent from beyond the arc (21st NCAA) and drained 279 total three's (13th NCAA) per Her Hoop Stats.


The Huskers backcourt is anchored by Jaz Shelley and Sam Haiby. Shelley, a Second Team All-Big Ten selection averaged a team-high 13.1 points and 5.0 assists per game last season and was also named to the Big Ten's All-Defensive Team. Haiby, an Honorable Mention All-Big Ten honoree, compiled 10.7 points per contest. Reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year Alexis Markowski totaled 12.8 points and 8.0 rebounds per game. Among the list of notable newcomers is South Dakota transfer Maddie Krull.


Series History


Nebraska will make its 10th trip to the Knapp Center, the first since Dec. 9, 2017. A tight series in recent years, both programs have split the last four meetings. Nebraska defended home court in the last encounter, defeating Drake 89-68 on Dec. 19, 2021. Four Bulldogs scored in double figures led by Megan Meyer's 16 points. Drake will search for its first victory over the Huskers since an 83-77 effort on Nov. 7, 2018 in Lincoln, and first victory in Des Moines since Dec. 16, 2001.


 

Nov. 25 - vs. Florida International


Tanajah Hayes (right) is the top returning scorer for FIU. (FIU Athletics)

Conference: Conference USA

2021-22 Record: 15-16 (6-12)

Head Coach: Jesyka Burks-Wiley (30-29, 3rd season)

Series History: Drake leads 1-0


Drake jets off to Miami, Florida to soak up the sun and participate in the FIU Thanksgiving Classic from Nov. 25-27. Florida International plays host to the holiday tournament and faces Drake to begin competition at the Ocean Bank Convocation Center. Six letterwinners return for an FIU program that finished sixth in the Conference USA East standings. The Panthers are led by third-year head coach Jesyka Burks-Wiley.


By the Numbers & Players to Watch


Only 31.7 percent of FIU's scoring is back from a year ago. The Panthers finished in the bottom half of C-USA in scoring offense (64.1) and scoring defense (62.2). FIU did rank fairly high in steals (9.4) and three-point field goals made per game (6.3).


Sophomore point guard Tanajah Hayes is the top returning scorer for FIU. Hayes finished her first year in Miami tied for third in scoring (9.3) and led the Panthers in assists (101) and steals (61). FIU added a pair of Division I and junior college transfers during the offseason. Ajae Yoakum, a 6'0" forward that previously played at Eastern Arizona College, was a NJCAA DI Honorable Mention All-American.


Series History


Drake is back in Miami for the first time in nearly 21 years. The Bulldogs made the most out of their trip to the Sunshine State, edging the Panthers in the one-and-only meeting 69-66 on Dec. 1, 2001. Massachusetts and Buffalo are the other participants in the FIU Thanksgiving Classic.


 

Dec. 1 - vs. Lindenwood

Devin Fuhring (left) tops all returning scorers for Lindenwood. (Lindenwood Athletics)

Conference: Ohio Valley Conference

2021-22 Record: 11-16 (8-11)

Head Coach: Katie Falco (62-42, 5th season)

Series History: First Meeting


The 'Pack the Knapp Game' makes its triumphant return when Drake welcomes Lindenwood to open play in December. Making the jump to Division I this season, Lindenwood joins the Ohio Valley Conference after competing in the Great Lakes Valley Conference in Division II. The Lions are led by fifth year head coach Katie Falco. A native of Solon and former standout at Northern Iowa, Falco played under then-assistant coach Allison Pohlman in Cedar Falls.


By the Numbers & Players to Watch


Lindenwood finished the 2021-22 campaign ranked second in the GLVC in assists per game (15.6) and fifth in scoring offense (67.6) and field goal percentage (.425). The Lions paced the conference in blocks (113).


Graduate senior Devin Fuhring is the top returning scorer for Lindenwood. A two-time Second Team All-GLVC selection, Fuhring's 14.0 points per game ranked second on the team last season. Six newcomers hop on board for the Lions, including former Southeast Polk standout Brooke Woodyard.


Series History


Drake and Lindenwood will meet for the very first time in front of thousands of local elementary and middle school students. The last 'Pack the Knapp Game' took place on Dec. 5, 2019. Close to 6,500 were in attendance that day, a program record.


 

Dec. 6 - at South Dakota


2021-22 Summit League Sixth Woman of the Year Grace Larkins. (South Dakota Athletics)

Conference: Summit League

2021-22 Record: 29-6 (17-1)

Head Coach: Kayla Karius (0-0, 1st season)

Series History: Tied 6-6


Drake travels northwest to Vermillion in the first of three consecutive road contests to end the non-conference slate. South Dakota became the second team in Summit League women's basketball history to reach the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament last year. The Coyotes carried plenty of momentum into March, claiming the Summit League regular season and tournament championship(s). A seismic offseason saw the graduation of seniors Hannah Sjerven, Chloe Lamb, Liv Korngable, and Regan Sankey, and the departure of head coach Dawn Plitzuweit. Kayla Karius, an assistant at South Dakota from 2016-18, was named head coach following one season on staff at Drake.


Notes & Players to Watch


Under Dawn Plitzuweit South Dakota was a hard-nosed, aggressive team. The Coyotes allowed opponents to score 53.6 points per game, ranking seventh in the nation per Her Hoop Stats. On the flip side South Dakota was methodical in each possession, turning the ball over just 10.9 times per contest (2nd NCAA).


Sophomore Grace Larkins returns as the leading scorer for the Coyotes. The reigning Summit League Sixth Woman of the Year averaged 6.5 points, 2.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists per game, and shot 42.7 percent from the field. South Dakota added transfers Sophie Haydon (George Washington), Madison Grange (Utah Valley), and Nicole Avila-Ambrosi (Cal Baptist) during the offseason.


Series History


A scrappy series since the very first meeting back in 1979, Drake and South Dakota will clash in Vermillion for the sixth time. The Bulldogs are 3-3 when facing the Coyotes in the Mount Rushmore State, with one encounter taking place in Sioux Falls in 2013. Drake is searching for the program's first win in South Dakota since 1981 and first victory in the series since Nov. 15, 2018. South Dakota topped Drake early in the 2021-22 campaign 61-46 in Des Moines. Megan Meyer and Maggie Bair each scored 10 points to lead the Bulldogs.


 

Dec. 10 - at Creighton


Emma Ronsiek (right) earned All-BIG EAST First Team honors last season. (Creighton Athletics)

Conference: Big East

2021-22 Record: 23-10 (15-5)

Head Coach: Jim Flanery (379-253, 21st season)

Series History: Drake leads 43-27


Drake treks across the Missouri River into Omaha to collide with a former conference rival. Creighton returns six of its top seven scorers from last seasons squad that made a magical run in the NCAA Tournament. The Bluejays advanced to the Elite 8 for the first time in school history and became the fourth double-digit seed to accomplish that feat. Leading the charge for Creighton in his 21st season is head coach Jim Flanery. The all-time winningest coach in program history, Flanery has guided the Bluejays to four NCAA Tournament appearances.


By the Numbers & Players to Watch


Featuring many versatile scorers, Creighton finished last season 15th in the country in field goal percentage (.453). Diving deeper, the Bluejays shot 52.4 percent on two-point field goals and 36.8 percent on three-point field goals, each mark ranking 10th in the nation per Her Hoop Stats. Additionally, Creighton's 73.3 percent assisted shot rate was tops in the country.


Three players that averaged double figures are back for Creighton. First Team All-Big East forward Emma Ronsiek led the Bluejays in points (13.9) and rebounds (5.0) per game, and blocks (28). Juniors Lauren Jensen and Morgan Maly averaged 12.5 and 12.3 points per contest, respectively. Jensen was honored as the Co-Most Improved Player in the Big East, while Maly received the Big East Sixth Woman Award.


Series History


Despite leaving the Missouri Valley Conference for the Big East in 2013, the rivalry between Creighton and Drake has stood strong. The Bulldogs have won four consecutive meetings against the Bluejays, including an 82-79 victory to open the 2021-22 season. Drake had four players tally double figures, led by freshman Anna Miller's 17 points. This will be the 30th meeting between the two schools in Omaha, where Drake holds a 16-13 edge.


 

Dec. 22 - at Iowa State


Two-time Cheryl Miller Award winner Ashley Joens returns for one final season in Ames. (Iowa State Athletics)

Conference: Big 12

2021-22 Record: 28-7 (14-4)

Head Coach: Bill Fennelly (568-291, 28th season)

Series History: Iowa State leads 32-29


Drake travels 40 miles up I-35 to finish its non-conference slate. Over 90 percent of the scoring is back for an Iowa State team that set a school record for wins (28) and conference victories (14) in a season. Earning a No. 3 seed in the NCAA Tournament (highest since 2018-19 season), the Cyclones would reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2010. Led by the dean of Big 12 women's basketball coaches, Bill Fennelly has accumulated over 730 victories in 32 seasons as a head coach.


By the Numbers & Players to Watch


An efficient team from downtown, Iowa State set a single-season program and Big 12 record with 357 made three's a year ago. The Cyclones connected on 38.9 percent of their shots from deep, good for second in the nation. Additionally, Iowa State ranked fifth nationally in points per scoring attempt (1.11) and fourth in free throw percentage (.810) according to Her Hoop Stats.


Ashley Joens, Iowa State's career scoring leader, is back for one more ride in Ames. The back-to-back Cheryl Miller Award winner averaged 20.3 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game en route to an AP All-American selection last season. All-Big 12 First Team honoree Emily Ryan broke the Cyclones' single-season record for assists (249), and her 7.1 assists per contest was third-best nationally. Fellow first-teamer Lexi Donarski averaged 14.3 points per game and was also named the Big 12's Defensive Player of the Year. Iowa State bolstered its front court during the offseason adding 6'6" forward Stephanie Soares.


Series History


A series that got its start in 1975, Dec. 1 will mark the 62nd all-time meeting between Drake and Iowa State. Casting a spell on 'Hilton Magic' has been easier said than done for most opponents. The Cyclones are 19-9 when hosting the Bulldogs on their home court. In last seasons encounter, Iowa State would top Drake in Des Moines 98-76. Freshman Katie Dinnebier led the Bulldogs with 19 points, and redshirt junior Grace Berg tallied 17 for the blue and white. Drake looks for its first win against Iowa State since Nov. 10, 2019, and first win in Ames since Nov. 27, 2002.

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