WILLIAMSBURG — The Drexel Women’s Basketball team traveled to Williamsburg, Virginia to take on College of William & Mary on the weekend of Jan.16. The two Colonial Athletic Association teams competed against each other in a two-game series. Drexel split the series, winning and losing a game.
The Dragons won the first game of the series over The Tribe, 64-58, led by Drexel’s Mariah Leonard. Leonard had a career night for the Dragons. She recorded her first collegiate double-double, scoring 17 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Leonard also tied her career-best for steals with three on the day. Keishana Washington contributed 13 points while Kayla Bacon and Hannah Nihill each poured in 10 points. Nihill also had a game-high six assists and five rebounds.
Drexel forced 19 William & Mary turnovers in the game and scored 24 points off those turnovers. Drexel is now 6-0 on the season when they score 60 or more points in a game.
Keishana Washington started off the game hot knocking down back-to-back three-pointers. The Dragons would enter the first media break leading the Tribe 8-4. Out of the break, Drexel went on a 7-0 run but ended the quarter cold, not scoring in the final three and a half minutes. Drexel led 15-11 going into the second period.
Tori Hyduke, a recent transfer, gave the Dragons a 20-13 of a three-pointer. The Tribe did not go away though, they went on a 7-0 run to bring the score back to 20 apiece. W&M took their first lead of the game in the second, but Hannah Nihill scored the last 6 points for Drexel to give them a slight edge at the half, 30-27.
After the break, Drexel dominated scoring 13 points straight to take a 43-27 lead. Kate Connolly scored six points within the stretch. Leonard, Connolly and Washington combined for 19 points in the third quarter to give the Dragons a 49-37 advantage going into the last quarter.
DU went cold to start the last period. The Dragons only put up four points in the opening five minutes. W&M fought back to bring the score within three, 55-52, late in the fourth. Chaniqwa Gilliam and Bre Bellamy were the spark W&M needed. Gilliam scored 8 points in the fourth and Bellamy 6. Leonard was clutch at the free-throw line in the final minutes going 5-of-6. The Dragons did not let the lead slip away from them in the fourth ultimately winning the game, 64-58.
On Sunday afternoon the Dragons and The Tribe battled in the second game of the series. William and Mary controlled the game from beginning to end, winning 69-53. Sydney Wagner was the top scorer with 22 points and sophomore Bre Bellamy poured in 19 points, her career-best. Bailey Eichner, a senior for The Tribe, finished with a double-double, 13 points and 13 rebounds. In addition, Eichner contributed eight assists and three blocked shots.
Although Drexel fell short against W&M, two players for the Dragons finished in double figures. Nihill finished with a team-high 18 points and six rebounds. She shot 4-for-7 beyond the arch, knocking down four threes which was her career-high. Tori Hyduke, recorded 11 points, her first double-figure game as a Dragon.
The Dragons struggled early from the field in the first quarter starting off 0-of-4. Hyduke converted on two treys in the first. One of Drexel’s only leads would come at the end of the first quarter 15-13.
The second quarter was all W&M. The Tribe began the second on a 16-2 run. Bellamy scored 10 of the 16 points during the run. W&M went up 29-17. Drexel slowly chipped away at the W&M lead, but it was not enough as The Tribe went into the locker room up 38-26.
After the 16-2 run by W&M in the second, DU struggled to get back on track. At one point in the fourth, the Tribe extended the lead by 20 points. Drexel made it a 12 point game in the fourth, 63-51, the closest they would come to William & Mary. It was not enough though as W&M went on to win 69-53.
53 points was the second-lowest offensive performance Drexel put up. Villanova would be the first where Drexel scored 46. Ultimately for the Dragons, point paints and field goal percentage was the difference. W&M outscored DU 34-18 in the paint and Drexel shot 32.8 percent from the floor. In addition, the Dragons shot 29.6 percent, 8-for-27, from beyond the arc.
Up next, Drexel will look to bounce back from a loss as they will host CAA opponent, Elon, in a pair of games at the DAC on the weekend of Jan. 23. William and Mary will travel to Charleston for a pair of games this weekend as they look to add another win to their record.
Will Drexel be able to get back into the win column? Stay tuned