The women’s basketball team made quick work of the Philadelphia University Rams during the exhibition contest at the Daskalakis Athletic Center Nov. 6.
In a game filled with traveling violations and turnovers from the Rams, the Dragons surged to an early start and didn’t let up throughout. With a final score of 87-42, head coach Denise Dillon was extremely satisfied with her team’s performance.
“I think we came out fired up ready to play, and were definitely excited about a game situation,” Dillon said. “Considering it was an exhibition game, I was pleased with having some fans there. You can see how excited everyone is about the season starting.”
Senior forward Tyler Hale got the ball rolling by scoring the first basket of the game before one minute had even passed. With Drexel’s quick passes and steals, the scoring frenzy began to take action.
A few minutes into the half, junior transfer Nicole Jones scored her first basket of the game, giving Drexel double the amount of points as Philly U at 12-6. Jones scored a total of 10 points and was one of the seven Drexel players to score over five points during the blowout. Joining her were seniors Kamile Nacickaite, Ayana Lee and Hale; junior Hollie Mershon; redshirt freshman Jackie Schluth and freshman Tiffany Johnson.
Dillon attributes her team’s successful offensive performance to the fine-tuning of plays and strategies during practice.
“We talked all week about getting uncontested shots, and the way to do that is to set good screens and be selfless with the ball,” Dillon stated. “[The players need] to move the ball faster than defense can guard them … and they really carried that into today.”
All players who were set to compete in the game got adequate playing time. All 11 players got at least 11 minutes on the court. Dillon is extremely confident in the depth of her rotation. A lineup that was previously five or six players deep now goes eight or nine deep. This depth has been a personal goal for Dillon and for the women’s basketball program.
“What I typically try to do in the first half is play our rotation,” Dillon said. “Then in the second half get everyone in there to show that we have a bench — a very good bench. So now you have to do everything you are physically or mentally capable of on the floor.”
This rotation helps some of the younger and less-experienced individuals on the roster get more comfortable with the speed of collegiate play, especially with the big season opener just around the corner.
“We are certainly pleased with everyone’s development,” Dillon said. “It’s nice to see that everyone is ready and understands what needs to be done.“
Players with more or less experience alike played like champions against the Rams. With very quick passing and movement around the baseline, it was clear that the Dragons had prepared aggressive play calls that worked to their advantage.
Philly U came out with a little gusto in the second half and sunk a few buckets early. Drexel, on the other hand, was off to a slower start, and at five minutes in had only scored six points.
The Dragons’ “lull,” if you could even call it that, didn’t last for long. The women were hitting threes left and right. Mershon hit three 3-pointers and finished with a total of 21 points. Mershon’s contributions not only ended up being the most points scored during the game but also totaled more points than the entire Rams team scored in the first half.
In the end, the Dragons walked away with a well deserved win.
With a major confidence boost under their belts, the Dragons are now set to take on Long Island for their season opener and first round of the Preseason Women’s National Invitational Tournament at the DAC Nov. 11 at 7 p.m.
Whoever wins this match up will compete Nov. 13 against the winner of the Manhattan-Hartford game.