A role reversal will take place today in the Knapp Center.
When the Drake women’s basketball team hosts Iowa at 2 p.m., coach Jennie Baranczyk wants the Hawkeyes to lose.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever rooted against Iowa,” said the former Jennie Lillis, once a Hawkeye team captain. “It’s the first time I’ve been in a game against them.”
An awkward vibe will also settle on the Iowa bench, especially for ex-Bulldogs’ coach Lisa Bluder.
“There are constant reminders when you go over there, of being part of that program,” Bluder said during a Friday news conference. “And now, you add that Jennie Lillis is sitting in my old office … it’s kind of a strange feeling.
“I know her players will have that emotional boost to try to do well for her.”
Bluder coached the Bulldogs from 1990 to 2000, winning 188 games and earning three NCAA Tournament appearances.
Baranczyk helped Iowa make three NCAA appearances before ending her college playing career in 2004.
“Before she took the (Drake) job we had conversations, and then afterwards,” Bluder said. “I’ve seen her out recruiting, but we have not really talked in the last couple of months.
“I sent her a text before her first game wishing her luck, but we have not spoken since the season has gotten started.”
The Bulldogs (3-5) will be at a significant height disadvantage against Iowa (7-3).
Morgan Johnson, at 6-foot-5, is five inches taller than Drake leading rebounder Morgan Reid. Johnson leads the Hawkeyes with 17.3 points and 7.5 rebounds per game and is shooting 55.8 percent.
“I think Morgan Johnson is one of the best players in the country,” Baranczyk said. “She’s a phenomenal player.
“The biggest thing for us is to make sure we rebound. We need to play with passion and compete to the best that we possibly can.”
TODAY’S BIG FOUR WOMEN’S GAME
WHO: Iowa (7-3) vs. Drake (3-5)
WHERE: Knapp Center, Des Moines
TIPOFF: 2 p.m.
TICKETS: $5 or $10
TELEVISION: Mediacom Channel 22
RADIO: KRNT-AM (1350); WHO-AM (1040)
STAT LEADERS: Iowa — Morgan Johnson 17.3 ppg, 7.5 rpg, 2.1 bpg; Samantha Logic 8.3 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 6.1 apg; Jaime Printy 12.4 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 3.4 apg; Drake — Kyndal Clark 13.0 ppg, 3.0 apg, 5.5 rpg; Morgan Reid 10.3 ppg., 8.4 rpg; Carly Grenfell 9.4 ppg, 2.8 rpg.<EL,2>
ABOUT THE HAWKEYES: Have won the last 10 games against Drake but still trail in the series, 24-20.
ABOUT THE BULLDOGS: Owns a plus-2.9 rebounding edge over opponents this season, third-best in the Missouri Valley Conference.
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes women's basketball