Drake University Athletics issued the following announcement on Nov. 8.
The Drake University women's basketball team won its fifth-straight season opener with a 74-67 victory over South Dakota State Friday night at the Knapp Center.
Drake (1-0) held off a resilient South Dakota State (0-1) squad coming off a 2019 Sweet 16 appearance and snapped a two-game losing streak to the Jackrabbits.
The Bulldogs' senior trio of Becca Hittner, Sara Rhine and Brenni Rose each stepped up in key situations to hold off South Dakota State, which nearly rallied from a double-digit deficit.
Hittner scored 18 points, including five consecutive points late in the fourth quarter when South Dakota State was within one point. Rhine finished with a game-high 25 points and added seven rebounds, two steals and two blocks. She scored eight key points in the final period. Rose handed out a career-high nine assists, had eight points and pulled down five rebounds. She scored six of Drake's first 13 points, making two three-pointers.
In the first quarter, Drake's defense held South Dakota State to 30.2% from the field and forced eight Jackrabbits' turnovers to lead 18-10.
After Drake led by as many as 15 points in the second period, South Dakota State drew within seven points with just over two minutes left. However, Drake closed the period on a 7-2 scoring run to lead 38-26 at halftime.
South Dakota State got back into the game with a 21-13 third quarter, trimming Drake's lead to two points with Tylee Irwin's field goal at the 1:28 mark. Rhine though answered with a basket to lead by four heading into the final quarter. She made another at the start of the fourth and scored the team's first five points in the final period.
The teams then traded baskets as the Jackrabbits tried to take the lead but they would only get as close as one point before Hittner and Rhine combined for nine-straight points to help pull away. Also big in the fourth quarter was sophomore Allie Wooldridge who converted a clutch three-point play.
Paiton Burckhard and Myah Selland paced South Dakota State with 18 and 17 points, respectively. Drake newcomer Kierra Collier, who sat out last season after transferring from Washington, just missed double figures in her debut finishing with nine points to go with five assists.
Drake has a fast turnaround with in-state rival Iowa State (1-0) coming to the Knapp Center Sunday for a 2 p.m. game. Sunday's game is a "Blue Out" presented by Broadlawns Medical Center. The in-state contest will be streamed on ESPN+ and on Mediacom MC 22.
Original source can be found here.