#41 Drake Women's Basketball 2019-2020 Preview

Drake Bulldogs
Overall Rank: #41
Conference Rank: #1 Missouri Valley
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Drake has reached three straight NCAA Tournament and has gone 53-1 in Missouri Valley Conference play during that stretch. That is domination. And it will not end this year. The Bulldogs do have to replace starters Maddy Dean and Sammie Bachrodt, but the program is on great footing under the leadership of Coach Jennie Baranczyk and anything but another trip to the NCAA Tournament would be a disappointment.
2018-19 Record: 27-7, 17-1
2018-19 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Jennie Baranczyk
Coach Record: 152-75 at Drake, 152-75 overall
Key Departed Players (starters in bold)
Maddy Dean, Guard, 10.2 ppg
Sammie Bachrodt, Guard, 9.4 ppg
Nicole Miller, Guard, 5.4 ppg
Becca Jonas, Forward/Center, 2.8 ppg
Key Returning Players (starters in bold)
Becca Hittner, Senior, Guard, 19.7 ppg
Sara Rhine, Senior, Forward, 18.3 ppg
Maddie Monahan, Junior, Guard, 4.4 ppg
Brenni Rose, Senior, Guard/Forward, 4.6 ppg
Monica Burich, Senior, Forward, 4.2 ppg
Allie Wooldridge, Sophomore, Forward, 1.7 ppg
Hannah Fuller, Junior, Guard, 0.8 ppg
Maggie Negaard, Sophomore, Guard, 0.7 ppg
Key New Players
Maggie Bair, Freshman, Forward
Grace Berg, Sophomore, Forward, Transfer from Missouri, eligible 2nd semester
Kierra Collier, Sophomore, Guard, Transfer from Washington
Sarah Beth Gueldner, Freshman, Guard
Taylor McAulav, Freshman, Guard
Becca Hittner and Sara Rhine are the clear leaders of this group. Hittner, a 6-0 senior guard, led the team with 19.7 points and added 5.2 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 1.2 steals. Hittner also spearheads the three-point effort on a team that led the MVC in three-point field-goals and three-point field-goal percentage per game. Hittner connected on 76 long balls at a 40.4 percent clip and Rhine can knock down a few outside shots too. Rhine, a 6-1 forward, scores most of her 18.3 points per game in the paint though. Rhine also led the Bulldogs with 8.3 rebounds. Hittner and Rhine can carry this team a long way, but they will need some help. Maddie Monahan started all 34 games last season, averaging 4.4 points and 3.5 assists. Brenni Rose and Monica Burich were key pieces off the bench last year and will look for starting roles in 2019-2020. Kierra Collier started 14 games at Washington as a freshman two years ago where she averaged 6.6 points and 2.1 assists. She will make a big splash and help give Drake the depth they need to be a very dangerous team in March.
Projected Postseason Tournament: NCAA
By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 80.5 (10th in nation, 1st in conference)
Scoring Defense: 66.6 (224, 8)
Field-Goal Percentage: 47.6 (9, 1)
Field-Goal Defense: 38.2 (87, 1)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 8.9 (19, 1)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 36.4 (25, 1)
Free-Throw Percentage: 76.1 (22, 3)
Rebound Margin: 5.4 (47, 2)
Assists Per Game: 21.4 (3, 1)
Turnovers Per Game: 17.6 (270, 10)