BeBlue Preview - UNI
Updated: Feb 4
Happy New Year, Bulldog fans!
2019 marked another fantastic year for the Drake Women's Basketball team both on-and-off the floor. Now we'll see what 2020 has in store for the Bulldogs.
The Scoop on Northern Iowa:
Drake (8-4) opens Missouri Valley Conference play at home against Northern Iowa (8-3) on Friday night. The Panthers rattled off three-straight victories to close out their non-conference schedule, notching wins over Omaha, IUPUI and Iowa State. UNI faced five 'Power 5' opponents (Missouri, Iowa, Alabama, Ohio State & Iowa State), the most of any team in the conference, and went 3-2 against those teams.
Despite losing three of their top four scorers from last season, UNI is averaging almost five points more per game (70.9 PPG - 6th MVC) than a year ago and are also shooting better from beyond the arc (33.8 3FG% - 5th MVC). The Panthers allow opponents to score just 61.0 PPG (3rd MVC) and limit their turnovers (14.6 - 2nd Fewest MVC), owning a +2.7 turnover margin.
Junior Karli Rucker leads UNI in scoring (12.8 PPG) and assists (3.0 APG). The Preseason All-MVC selection scored 25 points the last time the Panthers traveled to Des Moines. Sophomore Kam Finley averages 11.5 PPG and scored a season-high 20 points in the Panthers big win over Iowa on November 17.
Other Players to Watch:
Megan Maahs - Maahs missed most of the 2018-19 season with a knee injury. The redshirt junior has returned to form, averaging 9.5 PPG and 4.7 RPG. Maahs was an All-MVC First Team and All-MVC Defensive Team selection in the 2017-18 season.
Kristina Cavey - The grad transfer from Fresno State has provided depth and experience off the bench for head coach Tanya Warren. Cavey is averaging 9.3 PPG and shooting 59.6% from the floor (4th MVC). The Berthoud, Colorado native was named MVC Newcomer of the Week on December 23 after posting a double-double (20 PTS & 10 REB) in UNI's win at Iowa State.
Friday night will mark the 89th all-time meeting between Drake and UNI (Drake leads series 64-24). It'll also be the first time since 2003 that the two programs have met to open conference play. Tip-off from the Knapp Center is at 6:00 P.M. Friday night's broadcast will air on 1350 ESPN and on the Drake Learfield IMG Sports Network on TuneIn.
Last Time Out:
Drake finished non-conference play at Northern Illinois last Sunday and came away with a 73-49 win over the Huskies. The victory snapped a two-game skid for the Bulldogs and gave them their first true road win of the season. Drake's defense halted an NIU offense that averaged over 9.0 3FGM per game by limiting the Huskies to 5-of-31 shooting from deep. Those five three-pointers were second-fewest given up this season by the Bulldogs. Drake allowed NIU to shoot a season-low 16.3% from the beyond the arc and score a season-low 49 points. Nine different Bulldogs scored in the contest, while eight different players recorded an assist.
Redshirt senior Sara Rhine led Drake with 18 points. Fellow senior Brenni Rose recorded her third career double-double, tallying 12 points while snagging a career-high 12 rebounds. Sophomore Maggie Negaard concluded an impressive non-conference with 11 points. Senior Becca Hittner added 10 points, connecting on three, three-pointers.
Sophomores Kierra Collier and Allie Wooldridge each surpassed 100 career points. Collier also collected a season-high six rebounds in the contest.
With her two steals on Sunday, junior Hannah Fuller has now recorded 1+ STL in four of her last five games.
Seven different Bulldogs made a three-pointer, with Hittner and Negaard each making three.
Drake jumped to 7-1 all-time against Northern Illinois.
Drake ranks third in NCAA in APG (21.8). The Bulldogs dished out 20 assists at NIU marking the ninth game this season recording 20+ AST.
Head Coach Jennie Baranczyk
Drake will make their first Valley road trip at Missouri State on January 10. The Bulldogs will then face Southern Illinois in Carbondale on January 12.
You can find Friday night's radio broadcast on 1350 AM or online on the Drake Learfield IMG Sports Network on TuneIn. Sunday's broadcast will air on Praise 940-AM due to the Drake Men's Basketball broadcast.