After riding a six-game winning streak to begin Colonial Athletic Association play, the Drexel women’s basketball team cooled off by losing two very close games. Their first loss in CAA competition came at the hands of the conference rival University of Delaware at the Daskalakis Athletic Center. Coming off that loss, the Dragons went on the road only to have their losing streak extend to two games at Old Dominion University.
Heading into the match against the Blue Hens of Delaware, both teams were undefeated in conference play, Drexel at 6-0 and Delaware at 5-0. Both teams had player-of-the-year candidates in Drexel senior Hollie Mershon and Delaware junior Elena Delle Donne. It was always going to be a hard-fought battle; Drexel vs. Delaware matches are always nail-biters.
Mershon continued to display why she is an All-CAA selection by scoring 17 points in the 65-56 loss. The Dragons found some timely scoring from their two freshmen guards. Freshman Meghan Creighton scored the first points in the game for the Dragons by nailing a three at the start. She finished with eight points and four rebounds. Fellow freshman guard Rachel Pearson hit back-to-back threes toward the end of the first half to put the Dragons up briefly.
Delaware, however, led by Delle Donne, pulled away from Drexel in the final two minutes thanks to an 8-0 run. In the end it was a fairly even game all the way through. However, Delaware excelled on second-chance points, outscoring Drexel 22-10 in that category.
“Down the stretch we had some crucial possessions we didn’t take advantage of,” Drexel head coach Denise Dillon said. “We had some shots that didn’t fall for us.”
Despite the loss, there was still plenty of optimism in the minds of the women’s team.
“I still think we are the best team in the conference,” Mershon said after the match.
The Dragons looked to get back to their winning ways against Old Dominion, but that proved to be another difficult game. The Dragons found themselves down by double digits again and simply couldn’t climb out of that hole as they had done earlier in the season.
It was a tale of two halves for the Dragons. The first half saw them shoot 21 percent from the field and connect on 3 of 12 three-pointers. While they played excellent defense during the game — the defense didn’t allow a field goal in seven and a half minutes — the offense was too inconsistent. Mershon scored 22 points, her ninth 20-point game of the season, but no other Dragon scored in double digits. Senior Taylor Wootton added seven points and six rebounds.
Drexel made a run late and was up 47-46 thanks to two Mershon free throws. However, Jamie Cook of ODU hit a three-pointer on the next possession. The Monarchs never looked back. It came down to a possession game at the end — whoever had the ball last was going to be victorious. Unfortunately, the Dragons couldn’t get one more possession to tie the game and fell 53-50.
The Dragons will be back at the DAC Feb. 3 to take on Georgia State University. A victory would break their two-game losing streak and put them back in the hunt for a CAA title.