Preview: women’s basketball set for great season | The Triangle

Preview: women’s basketball set for great season

The Drexel University women’s basketball team is set for another great season this year. (Photograph courtesy of Kevin Rossi)

The Drexel University women’s basketball team had an incredible 2017 season. They went 27-8, 16-2 in the Colonial Athletic Association and only lost two games at home. They had two streaks of winning eight games in a row during the season.

They made it to the CAA Finals after defeating the University of North Carolina Wilmington 71-41 and the University of Delaware in overtime, 58-53. They played a tough game in the finals against Elon University, the defending conference champions, but lost 57-45.

The team continued to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament where they defeated Robert Morris University 57-44 in the first round, but then lost to Fordham University 60-63.

The Dragons lost three seniors from the 2017-18 roster. Sara Woods, a guard and forward for the team, played in 32 of the 35 games for Drexel last year. She averaged 9.4 points per game with 4.8 rebounds. She shot 74.5 percent from the free throw line and 50.6 percent from the field. Megan Marecic, a guard, played in 33 of the 35 for the Dragons last season. She was a great free-throw shooter, averaging 84.4 percent. She had a season-high 20 points in the game against Saint Joseph’s University Dec. 17.

Kelsi Lidge was the star forward for the Dragons last year. She played in all but one game and was the leader of the team for the season. She scored 11.4 points per game grabbing an average of 6.1 rebounds. In three of the games last season, she scored more than 20 points — 23 points for the win against Niagara University Dec. 7, 21 points in a crucial win against Northeastern University in CAA play Jan. 19 and her season-high of 27 points in a dominant win over Delaware March 3.

The Dragons welcome back nine players to their 2018-19 roster, three of which were in their starting lineup for most games: junior Aubree Brown, sophomore Hannah Nihill and junior Bailey Greenberg. Last season, Brown started all 35 games, averaged 9.8 points per game and achieved a career-high 26 points in the two-point win against James Madison University Feb. 23. After this game, she was named the CAA Player of the Week as well as the U.S. Basketball Writers Association National Player of the Week. Brown made history when she recorded the second triple-double for Drexel University with 10 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists in the win against the College of Charleston Feb. 4, 80-53.

Nihill was the team’s star freshman as well as one of the best freshman in the CAA for the 2017 season. She was named the CAA Rookie of the Year as well as Rookie of the Week four times. She made history by becoming the third Dragon to receive the Rookie of the Year honor. She mainly served as point guard for the Dragons last season playing in all but one game and starting in 32 games.

Greenberg was the star freshman from the 2016 season, where she started all 33 games and was named to the CAA All-Rookie Team. For the 2017 season, she started all 35 games and was the leading scorer for the team. She put up double-figure points in 22 games. She had two double-doubles last season — the first in the win against Niagara with 17 points and 10 rebounds and the second against Towson University Dec. 17 with 12 points and 11 rebounds.

The Dragons will also welcome three new freshman to the team. Keishana Washington is originally from Pickering, Ontario. She will be the first player from Canada to play under the guidance of head coach Denise Dillon. Washington comes to Drexel after serving as team captain for Team Ontario and winning two national championships (2015 and 2016) with this team.

Kate Connolly is originally from Harleysville, Pennsylvania. She will be a familiar face to the team as she played in high school alongside Brown and Greenberg at Archbishop Wood High School. She comes from a family of basketball players as her father played for La Salle University from 1976-1980 and her three brothers also played, two at Kutztown University and another at Philadelphia University.

Another familiar face will come from Maura Hendrixson who played at Cardinal O’Hara High School with current Dragon Hannah Nihill. Hendrixson won the 2017 and 2018 Philadelphia Catholic League titles.

Head coach Denise Dillon recently agreed to a multi-year contract extension with Drexel. She will be entering her 16th season with the Dragons and was named the CAA Coach of the Year last season. She has led the Dragons to a total of 282 wins.

With the three strong returning players, three new freshman and a fantastic coach, the Drexel women’s basketball is ready for another incredible season this Winter. They will open their season with their first official game at home against Quinnipiac University Nov. 9. Mark your calendars, this will be a great year.