first_imgVERMILLION, S.D. – The Drake University women’s basketball team visits Vermillion, S.D. to play the South Dakota Coyotes Thursday evening at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast on the radio on 1350 ESPN Des Moines and a free stream is available via this link (http://www.goyotes.com/watch/?Live=49). Drake improved to a perfect 6-0 on the season after winning the Lady Rebel Round-Up in Las Vegas over the Thanksgiving weekend as the Bulldogs beat Tulsa and previously unbeaten UNLV to win the two-day event. It’s the second consecutive Thanksgiving hardware Drake has picked up after winning the 2014 UTSA Thanksgiving Classic in San Antonio, Texas. For the second straight year, junior Lizzy Wendell (Blue Springs, Mo.) earned tourney MVP honors. Wendell received her third Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Week award for her performance at the Lady Rebel Round-Up and in helping knock off former MVC rival Creighton last week. Wendell averaged 19.3 points and grabbed 4.0 rebounds in the three wins. For the season, Wendell is leading the MVC in scoring at 18.7 points, and already has three 20+ scoring games. Her teammate sophomore Maddy Dean (Jordan, Minn.) had an impressive week as well averaging 17.7 points and 6.7 rebounds in the three victories. Drake, who received four votes in Tuesday’s USA TODAY Sports Top 25 women’s basketball coaches poll, checked in at No. 16 in the first installment of the NCAA’s RPI rankings also released Tuesday. The Bulldogs are off to their first 6-0 start since the 1994-95 campaign. A key to the Bulldogs’ early season success has been the willingness of Drake head coach Jennie Baranczyk to use her bench. Baranczyk has not been afraid to go deep into her bench this season, making many hockey-like substitutions with four or more players coming in at one time into the game. This season all 10 available players are averaging 8.0 or more minutes, and none are above 28.7 in average minutes. Drake’s bench is averaging a stellar 26.2 points a game, including scoring 30+ in a game three different times. Thursday’s game against South Dakota continues a renewed rivalry between the two programs that didn’t play each other from 1981 to 2012. Since playing in Vermillion in the opening round of the 2012 WNIT, Drake and South Dakota have played every season since that postseason contest won by the Coyotes. Drake owns a 5-3 advantage in the all-time series, but South Dakota has taken three out of the previous four meetings. South Dakota is riding a three-game winning streak after beginning the season on a three-game losing streak. Junior guard Caitlin Duffy leads the Coyotes in scoring at 14.2 points per game. Following Thursdays road game, Drake returns to the Knapp Center Dec. 6 to host Green Bay with tipoff against the Phoenix set for 2 p.m. The game will be broadcast online on The Valley On ESPN3. Print Friendly Versionlast_img

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