Drake trio repeat on MVC first team

ST. LOUIS — The Missouri Valley All-Conference teams have been announced and headlining that list were three repeat selections from Drake University.

Bulldog senior Sammie Bachrodt and juniors Becca Hittner and Sara Rhine were all named to the first team for the second-straight season, while University for Northern Iowa sophomore Karli Rucker got her first first-team honor.

Hittner, last year’s Jackie Stiles MVC Player of the Year, has been a first-team all-conference selection each of her first three years at Drake, the first Bulldog to accomplish that feat since Lizzy Wendell. Hittner leads the MVC in scoring with 19.9 points per game and she is third in 3-point percentage (39.9), fourth in field-goal percentage (48.4) and fifth in free-throw percentage (81.6). She scored 30-plus points in a league-leading four games, and she has hit the double figures in 27 of 30 games.

Rhine, who was also named this season’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year, earned her third all-conference honor after being a first-teamer a year ago and an honorable mention as a freshman. She has 12 double-doubles on the year and is just behind Hittner in second in conference scoring with 18.7 points per game. She and Hittner both have an MVC-best 14 games with 20-plus points, and she leads the conference in field goal percentage with a 60.9 percent clip. Rhine is also second in rebounding at 8.4 boards per game and she has reached double figures in 29-of-30 games. With 1,593 career points, Rhine is the active leading scorer in the MVC.

Bachrodt is on the all-conference first team for a second-straight season, and she is a member of the MVC all-defensive team for a third-straight year. She has started all 130 games in her Bulldog career, and this season she is averaging 9.5 points, 3.7 rebounds, 3.3 assists and a conference-leading 2.4 steals per game. With 272 total career steals, she needs three more to pass former Drake standout Kay Riek for the all-time MVC record that has stood since 1984. Bachrodt is also third in the MVC in 3-point percentage at 37.7 percent.

Rucker earned her first all-conference honor and is one of three sophomores on the 11-man first team. She finished the regular season ninth in the MVC in scoring at 14.3 points per game, and she was second in the conference with four assists per game. She scored 20 or more points seven times, including a 28-point output against Southern Illinois on March 3. She also notched three double-doubles during the regular season.

Drake senior Maddy Dean was also an honorable mention for a second-straight year. Dean averaged 10.3 points per game in the regular season while shooting a career-best 45.8 percent from the floor and 40.6 percent from the 3-point line. She is behind Rhine as the second-leading active scorer in the conference with 1,520 points.