Be Blue Review: Seniors
Another exciting chapter of Drake Women's Basketball is in the books. 34 games spanning from early November to late March and traveling as far west as Reno, Nevada to as far north as Brookings, South Dakota. The competition was fierce, battling seven programs (Creighton, South Dakota, Iowa State, Longwood, Nebraska, Missouri State, Illinois State) that punched their ticket to the 'Big Dance'. It all culminated to an eighth-straight postseason appearance.
In her debut season, Allison Pohlman navigated through the highest of high's and occasional bumps in the road with an unwavering belief in her Bulldogs. Defeating Creighton to open the season, Pohlman became the first coach since the legendary Carole Baumgarten to earn victory No. 1 in their first game. Drake recorded an 8-3 non-conference record, the best mark since 1984-85. That team featured the likes of Wanda Ford and Julie Fitzpatrick.
Advancing to the WNIT for the second consecutive season and 14th overall, Drake would host a postseason contest for the first time in six years and come out victorious. The history did not stop there. Allison Pohlman became the first head coach since Lisa Stone (2000-01) to compile 20 wins in their first season.
Winning 8 of their last 10 games, the Bulldogs flexed in March. Advancing to the WNIT Round of 16, it was Drake's deepest run in the tournament in 23 years. Let's rewind the fun ride that was the 2021-22 season, beginning with the senior class.
113 combined wins. Two regular season Missouri Valley Conference titles and one tournament crown. A pair of NCAA Tournament and WNIT appearances. This trio left a lasting legacy.
Maddie Petersen capped an extraordinary career in her fifth and final season. Petersen finished fifth all-time in career assists (532) and became the fifth player in program history to record 500 assists and 1,000 points, joining Caitlin Ingle, Kay Riek, Stephanie Schmitz, and Jenni Fitzgerald. Additionally, Petersen connected on an even 80.0 percent of her free throws (216-of-270), good for ninth all-time.
The Silver Lake, Minnesota native scored in double figures 42 times, which included five games of 20-plus points. She started in 151 career games, 107-straight spanning from 2017 to 2021. Petersen received MVC Scholar-Athlete Team accolades in her final three seasons and was a First Team All-MVC selection in 2020-21.
November 30, 2017. Following a three-game road trip that began in Laramie, Wyoming and ending in Boulder, Colorado, a 3-3 Drake squad was eager to return home and meet a familiar foe. Making her fifth career start, Maddie (Monahan) Petersen calmly delivered four assists and held firm with an Iowa State backcourt featuring Bridget Carleton. Tied 80-80 with 1:09 remaining, Petersen would let her one-and-only three-point attempt fly from the top of the key. As the crowd of over 3,200 watched in anticipation, a roar erupted as soon as the ball sunk through the net despite contact prior to the shot being hoisted. Quickly gathered by teammates, Petersen casually made her way to the free throw line and converted a critical four-point play. Finishing touches by sophomore Becca Hittner propelled the Bulldogs to an in-state rivalry victory. Ultimately, Drake finished the 2017-18 season at 26-8, including a second consecutive 18-0 league record. MVC regular season and tournament champions, the Bulldogs season would eventually come to a close at Texas A&M in the First Round of the NCAA Tournament.
Hannah Fuller saved the best for her last ride in the blue and white. Fuller set single season career high's in several categories: points per game (3.4), rebounds (3.7), assists (75), steals (43), three point field goal percentage (34.4%), free throw's made (14), free throw percentage (82.4%), and minutes per game (18.4). The West Des Moines native drained 21 triples, six more than her career total entering the season (15) and was second on the team in steals (43). Additionally, Fuller set new career-high's in rebounds (9 vs. Indiana State on Dec. 31, 2021) and assists (7 vs. Evansville on Jan. 1, 2022).
Fuller played in 135 career games, which included nine starts and scored in double figures in three times.
"If you don't walk away a fan of Hannah Fuller today, then you don't have a pulse," exclaimed Allison Pohlman following Drake's emphatic victory over Minnesota on December 23, 2021. Fuller's all-around effort, particularly in the fourth quarter, was instrumental in the Bulldogs' non-conference finale. Sparking her teammates and the Knapp Center crowd, Fuller finished the afternoon with 10 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, and 2 steals.
Turning back the clock to March 1, 2019 in Carbondale, Illinois. Drake was sitting atop the Valley standings heading into an always difficult road swing. Sophomore Hannah Fuller had to juggle quite a bit that night. The task at hand, facing a gritty Salukis squad. The other? Getting updates from Drake fans on younger sister Shea, who was playing for a state title back home. In the end, it all worked in the favor of the Fuller sisters. Hannah and the Bulldogs came out on top at SIU Arena, while Shea and the West Des Moines Valley Tigers won a second state title.
Allie Wooldridge consistently provided energy, hustle, laughter, and love for her teammates every time she stepped on the floor. Wooldridge appeared in 124 career games, including 117-straight dating back to 2019 and made 34 career starts. A jack of all trades, the Center Point, Iowa native totaled 470 career points, 352 rebounds, and 187 assists. Wooldridge tallied nine double figure scoring performances, including one career double-double.
Big Al Rewind
December 18, 2020. In the waning hours following a frustrating loss at South Dakota State, Drake made a slight change to its calendar. In need of an alternate opponent due to COVID-19, the Texas Longhorns made a long distance call to Des Moines to set up a meet. With a week to spare, the Bulldogs agreed to an impromptu contest and headed south for Austin. Holding the No. 22 national ranking, the Longhorns were athletic and versatile, led by 6'4" center Charli Collier (No. 1 pick in 2021 WNBA Draft). Despite the tall task awaiting, the Bulldogs met the challenge head on.
A blue streak would race across the predominately burnt orange floor at the Frank Erwin Center. Getting a closer look, it suddenly became clear that the blue streak was in fact Allie Wooldridge. The slogan, "Everything's Bigger in Texas", was embodied by 'Big Al'. One of three Bulldogs to score in double figures (13), Wooldridge ripped down a career-high 11 rebounds and dished out a team-high six assists. Despite the final score not favoring Des Moines' Hometown Team, fans got a glimpse of the heart and hustle shown by Allie Wooldridge.