Drake duo, UNI’s Keitel get first-team all-Valley honors

ST. LOUIS – Drake junior guard Kyndal Clark and freshman forward Lizzy Wendell have been named to the all-Missouri Valley Conference women’s basketball first team, the league announced on Wednesday.

Clark was a second-team selection last year, an MVC All-Freshman Team pick two years ago, an and is one of only two returning honorees to gain first-team selection this season.

Wendell, named the MVC Newcomer of the Week a league-high eight times during the season, was joined by guard Caitlin Ingle with selection to the MVC All-Freshman Team.

Northern Iowa’s lone all-conference representative was Jen Keitel. The sophomore forward earned first-team election after leading the Panthers to a third-place finish in the final conference standings.

Drake, which finished fifth in the MVC, trailed only conference co-champion Wichita State with its two first-team picks. The Shockers, who split the regular-season title with Indiana State, had three of the 11 first-team honorees, including returning first-teamer Alex Harden.

Clark led the MVC in scoring at 19.6 points per game and buried a new league record 108 3-pointers this season. She scored a career-high 41 points against Northern Iowa and was tops in the Valley scoring 30 points or more four times.

Wendell was one of two freshmen on the all-MVC first team. She was second on the Bulldogs and fifth in the league in scoring 16.1 points per game in becoming just the third Valley rookie to score 400 points or more (468) in their first season.

Ingle didn’t crack Drake’s starting lineup until Jan. 24, but helped the Bulldogs win eight of its final 12 games. The Southeast Polk graduate scored 8.9 points per game, but averaged 12.4 points, 4.7 assists and 4.6 rebounds as a starter.

Keitel led the Panthers in scoring at 13.2 points per game and was their second-leading rebounder at 6.4 rebounds per game. The Central Clinton (DeWitt) graduate shot an MVC-best 58.2 percent from the field on her way to becoming UNI’s first all-Valley selection since Jacqui Kalin (2012-13).

The Valley will announce its specialy award winners tonight between the first and second games of the MVC Tournament, including the Jackie Stiles Player of the year and the MVC Freshman of the Year.

Third-seeded Northern Iowa (17-12) faces No. 6 Illinois State (9-19) in the last quarterfinal game on Friday nightat 8:37 p.m. Drake (15-14), the No. 5 seed, squares off with No. 4 seed Evansville (15-14) in Friday’s 2:37 p.m. contest in St. Charles, Mo.