Game Time...Northwestern College travels to Des Moines, Iowa, to play NCAA D-I Drake University in a non-conference match-up on Thursday, Dec. 18. Tip-off at the Knapp Center is scheduled for 11:03am. The game, labeled as the "Pack The Knapp For Character Counts” game will have over 3,000 local elementary and middle school students will fill the Knapp Center for a fun-filled day of educational activities and basketball.
All-Time...This is just the second ever match-up between Northwestern and Drake with the Bulldogs outlasting NWC 56-36 in 1977.
Scouting Drake...The NCAA D-I Bulldogs are members of the Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) and bring a 4-5 overall record into Thursday morning. They began the year with three straight losses (USD, Iowa State and SIUE) but came back with three consecutive wins over Wisconsin, Texas at San Antonio and Fordham. They are 1-2 since, losing to Colorado State and Creighton with a win in-between against Idaho State.
Jennie Baranczyk is in her third season as the head coach at Drake and returns four starters and eight letterwinners off a 2013-14 team that finished fifth in the MVC with a 9-9 record. They lost in the conference championship to Wichita State to end the year at 17-15. Prior to coming to Drake, coach Baranczyk spent two years as an assistant at the University of Colorado.
Drake is averaging 70 points per game while shooting 42% from the field, 30% from beyond the arc. Through nine games, the Bulldogs are making seven three-pointers per game. Defensively, they are giving up 74 points per game and are being outrebounded by a -3 margin.
Lizzy Wendell leads the Bulldogs in scoring and is one of 25 D-I players scoring better than 20 points per game. Wendell, the MVC co-freshman of the year and first team all-conference pick in 2014, averages 21.3 points per game and leads the team with 17 three-pointers. She has scored in double figures in 23 straight games. Senior Kyndal Clark, the MVC player of the year after making a school record 116 three-pointers last season, was injured in the Bulldogs first game and is out for the year. Sophomore Caitlin Ingle, an all-freshman team pick last season, scores 13.3 points per game and leads the team with 51 assists. Freshman Becca Jones scores 10.8 points per game and leads the team in rebounding (6.7). Liza Heap, a 6-0 senior, is the other returning starter and averages 2.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game.
Northwestern News and Notes...The Red Raiders own a 7-5 overall record and are currently in seventh place in the GPAC with a 3-4 league record. All but one of their losses are to teams ranked in the top 25. Last time out, Northwestern earned a hard-fought 78-70 road win over Midland in conference play on Dec. 13.
Northwestern is scoring 78 points per game while shooting 45% from the field, 32% from beyond the arc. Defensively, they are giving up 69 points per game and teams are shooting just 38% from the field against the Red Raiders. Northwestern owns a +6 advantage on the glass.
Karen Ettleman leads the GPAC in scoring, averaging 23.4 points per game, and is one of two Red Raider players in double figures. Ettleman moved into 12th place all-time with 1,415 career points, passing Jane Van Klompenburg (1986-90) last time out against Midland. The senior has scored in double figures in every game this season and has reached 20-or-more points in nine games. Ettleman also leads the team in rebounding (6.3) and steals (30). Paige O'Neal scores 11 points per game, shooting 45% from the field, while leading the GPAC with 66 assists. O'Neal moved into 10th place all-time in career assists last time out with 386, passing Kami Kuhlmann (2008-12). Junior Arianne Gesell averages 9.7 points and 4.8 rebounds per game in the post, shooting 70% from the field. Morgan VanDerSloot is the top perimeter shooter, draining 15 three-pointers on the year.
Up Next...The Red Raiders will travel to West Palm Beach, Fla., to play in the Northwood University Classic on Dec. 29-30.