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Baranczyk, Hittner and Wendell Claim MVC Women’s Basketball Specialty Awards

first_imgDrake is ranked No. 20 in the latest Women’s Basketball AP Top 25 poll released Monday, March 6. It is the first time since 1981-82 the Bulldogs have been ranked for four-consecutive weeks in the poll. Drake’s ranking is also the highest for any MVC team since Missouri State appeared at No. 15 on March 13, 2001. Also, this week Drake moved to No. 19 in the USA TODAY Women’s Basketball Coaches Poll and has been ranked in that poll for three-straight weeks. Wendell joins an impressive group of former Bulldog stars who have been named conference player of the year. Wanda Ford (1985, 1986), Jan Jensen (1991), Kristi Kinne (1995), Tricia Wakely (1996), Kiersten Miller (1998), Rachael Hackbarth (2012) and Kyndal Clark (2014) have all claimed the Valley’s top individual award. Hittner is the fourth-consecutive Drake player to claim the Valley’s Freshman of the Year honor joining her teammates Sara Rhine (2016), Maddy Dean (2015) and Wendell (2014). A Drake player has won the MVC Freshman of the Year award a league-best 10 times in the history of the conference. Hittner, who was picked to the All-MVC First Team, has continued the run of Bulldog freshmen contributing immediately in their first season. The local product from Dowling Catholic is averaging 12.3 points and 6.0 rebounds per game while shooting 53.6 percent from the floor, 84.4 percent from the free-throw line and 52.4 percent from behind the three-point arc. Her shooting, free throw and three-point percentages rank third, second and first, respectively, in the MVC. Baranczyk guided Drake to its first regular season MVC championship since 2008 and the first outright title for the program since 2000. The 2016-17 team has a 25-4 record and is riding a program-record 19-game winning streak (one win away from tying all-time MVC record), which is the third longest active streak. The Bulldogs finished 18-0 in regular season play, the first time a MVC team has gone undefeated in conference action. Wendell has scored 2,470 career points, which is the third most in league history and third among active NCAA Division I players. She is just the fourth Bulldog and eighth MVC player to score 2,000 or more points. Wendell has been tabbed MVC Player of the Week a league-high five times this season and 14 times in her career, a total that is second all-time in Valley history behind Stiles. She had the longest double figure scoring streak in MVC history at 102-consecutive games and has scored in double figures in 120-of-125 career games. Wendell leads active MVC players in career 20-plus point scoring games with 65 and 30-plus point games with 10, including two 43-point career-high performancesIn her freshman season, Wendell won a program-record eight MVC Newcomer of the Week awards and was named the MVC Freshman of the Year. She has nabbed 258 career steals to rank third all-time at Drake and has made 226 three-pointers to rank fourth all-time at Drake. Earlier this week, Wendell was selected to the All-MVC First Team for the fourth-consecutive season, a feat that has been accomplished by just six others in MVC history. Wendell, who was tabbed the MVC Preseason Player of the Year, is averaging a league-leading 21.1 points and ranks among the top five in assists (3.1, 5th), free throw percentage (76.6, 5th), shooting percentage (51.1, 5th) and steals (2.7, T-2nd). She is the first MVC player to lead the league in scoring in three-straight seasons since Jackie Stiles led the league four straight seasons from 1998-2001. MOLINE, Ill. – Drake senior Lizzy Wendell (Blue Springs, Mo.) has been named the 2017 Jackie Stiles Missouri Valley Conference Women’s Basketball Player of the Year while freshman Becca Hittner (Urbandale, Iowa) has been chosen the MVC Freshman of the Year and head coach Jennie Baranczyk has been selected the MVC Coach of the Year. The three were presented their awards at a ceremony on the opening night of the 2017 MVC Tournament at the iWireless Center in Moline, Ill. Hittner, missed the first four games of the season, but has played in 25 games with 23 starts since. She has scored in double figures in 19 of those 25 games, including in the last eight games. Hittner poured in a career-high 22 points in the win over Missouri State on March 2. Baranczyk is the third Drake head coach to be selected MVC Coach of the Year joining Lisa Bluder (1995, 1997, 1998) and Lisa Stone (2001). She has compiled an impressive 96-60 record in five seasons as head coach, including a 61-29 mark in league play. Baranczyk has had nine players earn 16 all-conference selections, four MVC Freshman of the Year winners and one MVC Player of the Year winner during her tenure. The Bulldogs have recorded three-consecutive 20-plus win seasons under Baranczyk. It is the first time since 1999-2002 this has occurred at Drake. Drake is the top seed at this week’s MVC Tournament at the iWireless Center in Moline, Ill. The Bulldogs will play No. 9 Illinois State on Friday at 12 p.m. Print Friendly Versionlast_img read more

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