Led by a stellar performance from junior forward Sarah Curran, the Drexel University women’s basketball team erased a 12-point halftime deficit to defeat Elon University 54-47 in Elon, North Carolina Feb. 21.
Curran scored 23 points, pulled down eight rebounds and recorded two steals: all of which were team highs.
Curran’s numbers against Elon contributed to her being named the Colonial Athletic Association player of the week for the week of Feb. 21. It was the second time this season that Curran was named CAA player of the week.
“She is playing like a first team all-conference player, which she was named last year,” Drexel head coach Denise Dillon said after the game.
Of the 23 points Curran scored against Elon, 19 were scored in the second half of the game, which spearheaded a Drexel offense that struggled immensely in the first half.
The Dragons scored just 13 points on 20 percent shooting from the field in the first half. Despite their struggles on offense, the Dragons’ defense kept them in the game as they held Elon at 25 points in the first half.
Following their offensive lull from the start of the game, the Dragons made adjustments at halftime and came out firing on all cylinders in the third quarter.
Drexel dominated Elon on both ends of the court in the third quarter by outscoring them 23-2.
Shots were falling left and right for the Dragons in the third quarter as they made nine of their 15 field goal attempts, while their defensive play was suffocating, holding Elon scoreless throughout the quarter until the one-minute mark.
After trailing by as many as 12 points earlier in the game, the Dragons took a commanding 36-27 lead over Elon into the fourth quarter.
Down, but not yet out, the Elon Phoenix trimmed the Dragons’ lead to three points and trailed Drexel 47-44 with only 3:49 left in the game.
However, two-point baskets on back-to-back Drexel possessions by Curran and senior guard Rachel Pearson pushed the Dragon’s lead to seven points. Elon was unable to recover, and the Dragons came away with a 54-47 victory over the Phoenix.
With the win over Elon, the Dragons improved to 15-11 on the year and 11-4 in the CAA, allowing them to remain in the second place position of the conference.
Drexel’s excellent effort in the second half against Elon came as no surprise to coach Dillon, who said she placed an extra emphasis on coming of halftime with energy in the Dragons’ practices last week.
“We’re trying to start practice strong, then go through some half-court possessions, and then finish stronger. We’re going more aggressively. And now it’s worked in these last couple of games,” Dillon said.
While she was pleased with the way the her team played in the second half against Elon, coach Dillon said she would like to the Dragons play at a high level in both halves of the game.
“They’re challenging in trying to figure out what buttons you can push and what really makes sense to them to have that sense of urgency to play from start to finish,” she continued.
Their game against Elon was not the only game last week in which the Dragons played better in the second half than they did in the first.
On Feb. 17 at the Daskalakis Athletic Center, Drexel pulled away from Towson University in the third quarter, after a close first half, and cruised to a 56-40.
After battling to maintain control of the game for the majority of the first and second quarters, the Dragons took a narrow 24-23 lead over the Tigers into halftime.
Much like they did with their win over Elon, the Dragon’s both improved offensively and clamped down defensively in the third quarter.
The Dragons distanced themselves from the Tigers by outscoring them 17-8 in the third quarter, which gave Drexel a 10-point advantage when the game entered its final period.
With just under eight minutes left in the game, Towson was able to reduce Drexel’s lead to six, but the Dragons went on a 15-5 run to close out the game.
The difference between Drexel’s performance in the first and second halves was significant both offensively and defensively.
The Dragons improved their field goal percentage from 33.3 percent in the first half to 50 percent in the second half. They also held Towson to 26.1 percent shooting from the field in the second half, which was a big improvement compared to the 42.9 percent that they allowed the Tigers to shoot at in the first half.
Junior guard Meghan Creighton was the Dragon’s top performer in the game. Creighton narrowly missed a double-double as she scored nine points and dished out a team high of nine assists.
Forward Jackie Schluth was Drexel’s leader in points, scoring a total of 10, and rebounds, six. Schluth was the only Dragon to post double-digit scoring numbers.
With victories over Towson and Elon last week, Drexel is currently on a three-game winning streak.
The next game for the Dragons will take place against Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York Feb. 26. With a victory over Hofstra, Drexel would clinch the two seed for the CAA tournament.