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Dragons win first two at home, lose at Vanderbilt | The Triangle

Dragons win first two at home, lose at Vanderbilt

The Drexel University women’s basketball team won its first two games of the season at home against Penn State University on Nov. 11 and Delaware State University on Nov.13, but lost on the road against Vanderbilt University on Nov. 16.

The Dragons kicked their season off with an 83-60 victory in their home opener against Penn State University on Nov. 11.

Despite scoring first in the contest as a result of junior Kelsi Lidge scoring a fastbreak layup off of a steal, Drexel struggled to get its offense going throughout and trailed the Nittany Lions 15-11 by the end of the first quarter. With just under seven minutes remaining in the second quarter, Penn State increased its lead to six points, but that was the biggest lead it would manage during the game.

Trailing 21-15, the Dragons began to turn the game around thanks in part to freshman Bailey Greenberg’s first career basket, which came off a jump shot in the paint. Greenberg made another jumper, 30 seconds later off an assist from freshman Aubree Brown, to cut Penn State’s lead to two.

On the Dragons next possession, Brown drained a three-pointer, her second of the game, which put Drexel ahead for the first time since the game’s opening seconds.

The two teams traded the lead six times in the final five minutes of the second quarter, but senior Jessica Pellechio connected from three-point range on back to back possessions to give the Dragons a three-point advantage with a minute left in the half.

In the closing seconds of the first half, junior Sara Woods made a layup in traffic, drew a foul call and converted on a free throw attempt to complete a momentum-altering and-one. Following Woods’ trip to the line, the two teams went back to their respective locker rooms with the Dragons leading the Nittany Lions 36-32.

Having struggled a little bit with her shot in the first half, Jessica Pellechio set the tone for the Dragons coming out of halftime. On Drexel’s opening possession in the third quarter, Pellechio buried a three, off an assist from Greenberg, to push her team’s lead to seven. Later on in the quarter, with Penn State threatening to cut Drexel’s lead to a single possession, Pellechio nailed another three to keep the Dragons ahead by eight points.

Drexel took several 10-point leads throughout the third quarter, but Penn State managed to stay within striking distance. Entering the fourth quarter, the Dragons had a 59-53 lead.

In the first few minutes of the quarter, Penn State was able to cut Drexel’s lead to four. The final seven minutes of the game quickly became the Jessica Pellechio show.

At the six and a half minute mark, Pellechio made a three to extend Drexel’s lead to 64-57. Then, on the following Dragons’ possession, Pellechio sank her sixth three of the game to push Drexel’s lead back to ten.

After an empty Penn State possession, Greenberg got fouled and made two free throws to give Drexel a 12 point lead, their largest of the game up to that point, with just five minutes to go.

Following Greenberg’s free throws, Pellechio put an exclamation point on her performance by hitting three-pointers on back to back possessions, which capped a 14-0 run by the Dragons. Drexel’s lead proved to be insurmountable as they defeated Penn State 83-60.

Pellechio finished the game with a career high of 30 points,  tying a Drexel record with eight made three-point field goals. What was most impressive about her scoring outburst was the fact that 28 of her points came in the second half. She shot 8-15 from behind the arc and dished out three assists as the teams’ top statistical performer.

“Jess has great ability to shoot the ball, and when she does miss, I think it’s such a minor adjustment she has to make, so she’s learning that, she’s aware and she’s really listening and honing in on knocking down a big shot,” Drexel head coach Denise Dillon said on Nov. 15.

Greenberg was impressive in her first career game, scoring 11 points and pulling down three rebounds for the Dragons.

“I just feel [Greenberg’s] ability to do some things on the floor that other players can’t naturally do. The rebounding area, we struggle, we get out-rebounded so often, and I think she brings that [rebounding] with each and every possession, on both ends of the floor,” coach Dillon said

Junior Sarah Curran quietly had a productive evening for the Dragon’s. She scored 14 points and had 3 assists in the winning effort.

Lidge and senior Meghan Creighton provided a spark for Drexel’s defense as they tied for a team high with three steals. Creighton also led the Dragons in assists.

Following their win against Penn State, the Dragon’s carried their momentum into their game with Delaware State University on Nov. 13.

In the first half, despite their eventual 33-17 lead, the Dragons appeared to be a bit disconnected.

“I wasn’t pleased with our overall effort to start the Delaware State game. I thought we came out a little flat, I didn’t feel like we had the energy that we need every game,” coach Dillon said.

Following her performance against Penn State, Pellechio struggled from three-point range early, going 0-5 from deep in the first half. Despite her offensive struggles, she was able to crash the boards for a team-high six rebounds in the first two quarters.

Turnovers were also an issue for the Dragons in the first half, as they gave possessions away to Delaware State nine times. However, led by Lidge’s three steals, the Dragons were able to force Delaware State to commit 10 first-half giveaways.

Towards the end of the second quarter, Sarah Curran began to pour it offensively in an effort to take charge of the game for Drexel. After the Dragon’s went on a five-minute run in which they managed just two points, Curran scored seven points in the final 77 seconds of the second quarter, which gave the Dragons a 17 point halftime lead.

“Going into halftime, I thought Sarah Curran did a nice job… We weren’t playing together the way we needed to, and Sarah really stepped up, which she should. You know, your best player needs to take that responsibility and she really stretched the lead for us,” coach Dillon said.

Curran continued her offensive hot streak in the third quarter. From the minute mark in the second quarter to just after the six-minute mark in the third quarter, Curran was the only player from either team to score. She scored seven unanswered points for the Dragons to open up the third quarter, which helped extend their lead to 39-16.

Halfway through the third quarter, the game was well out of reach for Delaware State. Drexel cruised to a 69-44 victory.

Curran finished the game with a Dragons’ high in both points scored with 18, and assists with seven. She also pulled down four rebounds and managed two steals.

Pellechio reached double digits for scoring again with 10 points and she led the Dragons with eight rebounds.

Greenberg was impressive yet again. She scored 10 points, all of which came in the first half, grabbed seven rebounds, and shot 2-3 from the three-point line.

“You look at Bailey Greenberg in that second game, she has the range to shoot the three, so I think that’ll make her even more lethal out on the court, around the basket, having extended her range to the three,” coach Dillon said.

Creighton had another solid game as point guard as she distributed six assists while committing just one turnover.

Lidge finished with a team-high of four steals, and it was the second consecutive game in which she recorded at least three steals.

Aubree Brown turned in a solid defensive performance with three steals of her own.

Freshmen Niki Metzel and Ana Ferariu played the first minutes of their Dragon careers. Metzel ended up with six points on 2-2 shooting from the field and 2-3 shooting from the free throw line. Ferariu got her first career points on a three-point basket in the fourth quarter.

Three days later, the Dragons were on the road against Vanderbilt University on Nov. 16. The Dragons got off to a hot start and had a 27-19 lead halfway through the second quarter. However, the Dragons were ice cold from behind the arc the rest of the quarter, and Vanderbilt went on a 15-5 run to take a 34-32 lead into halftime.

The lead shifted back and forth for the rest of the way. With three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, Meghan Creighton made a huge three-point basket to tie the game at 60-60. However, Vanderbilt went on a 13-3 run in the final three minutes and ended up with a 72-62 victory.

Curran was Drexel’s lead point scorer with 19. She also had four assists.

Pellechio scored 18 points, which was good for the second highest individual total by a Dragon.

Creighton scored six points and dished out a team and season high with eight assists.

Next up for the Dragon’s is a home game against Syracuse University at 7 p.m. on Nov. 21.pell3333333chio