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Win over UNCW moves women’s basketball into tie for second in CAA | The Triangle

Win over UNCW moves women’s basketball into tie for second in CAA

Photo courtesy Drexeldragons.com
Photo courtesy Drexeldragons.com

The Drexel University women’s basketball team rebounded from a tough 59-55 home loss to James Madison University Feb. 12 with a 66-60 win over the University of North Carolina at Wilmington Feb. 14.
The Dragons had JMU, the first place team in the Colonial Athletic Association, on the ropes in the first half of their matchup last Friday night at the Daskalakis Athletic Center. Midway through the second quarter, Drexel led JMU by a neat 18 points.
Graduate student forward Jackie Schluth and junior forward Sarah Curran lit up the scoreboard for Drexel in the opening half. Schluth led the team in scoring in the first half with 12 points with 6-7 shooting and Curran had 11 points, two assists and six rebounds before halftime.
The Dragons were on fire in the first half as they scored 36 points while shooting 53.6 percent from the field.
Despite their hot start, the game began to unravel for Drexel as the second quarter reached its closing minutes. In the final 4:40 of the second quarter, JMU went on a 14-4 run that cut Drexel’s lead to 12 points by halftime.
JMU continued to outplay Drexel in the second half. After the Dukes outscored the Dragons 17-8 in the third quarter, Drexel’s lead was trimmed to just three points as the game entered the fourth quarter.
With momentum in their favor, JMU took a 49-47 lead, their first lead in the game, with 4:26 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Schluth and Curran did their part to keep the Dragons alive in the game’s closing minutes. After Schluth made a layup to even the score at 49-49 and JMU responded with a basket, taking a 51-49 lead over Drexel, Curran tied the game at 51-51 with a layup of her own.
Following Curran’s basket, JMU’s senior guard Jazmon Gwathmey answered with a lay-up of her own, giving the Dukes a 53-51 lead.
Trailing by two points with less than 1:30 left in the game, the Dragons relied on Curran to deliver for them offensively. She missed a layup attempt, but got an offensive rebound and went immediately back up with the ball, through what appeared to be contact made by a JMU player, and scored on a putback that tied the game at 53-53.
Despite the fact that Curran made her put-back, Drexel head coach Denise Dillon was unhappy with the referees for not calling a shooting foul on Curran’s defender. The referees took issue with Dillon’s insistence that her player was fouled and called a technical foul on Dillon.
The technical foul gave JMU two free throw attempts and possession of the ball with 1:15 remaining in the game. Just 20 seconds after Gwathmey made both technical free throws, she made a three-point basket that gave the Dukes a 58-53 lead over the Dragons.
The Dragons were unable to mount a comeback in the closing seconds of the game; they lost to JMU with a score of 59-55.
Individually, Sarah Curran had a productive game for the Dragons. She led the team with 22 points, 11 rebounds and three steals.
Schluth, who got off to a strong start in the first half, finished the game with 14 points, which made her and Curran the only two double digit scorers for the Dragons.
After the loss last Friday night to JMU, Drexel rebounded on Sunday afternoon in their game against the UNCW Seahawks.
Against UNCW, the Dragons got off to another good start and took a 37-26 lead over the Seahawks by halftime. Drexel’s largest lead of the day came at the 8:18 mark in the third quarter, when Sarah Curran made a jump shot and gave the Dragons a 45-30 advantage over UNCW.
Despite the large deficit they faced early on in the third quarter, and the fact that they had only six active players in their lineup, the Seahawks managed to fight their way back into the game.
UNCW’s junior guard Jasmine Steele led the charge in the second half for the Seahawks. Drexel had no answer for her as Steele scored 16 of her team high, 23 points, in the second half.
The Seahawks slowly chipped away at the Dragons’ lead and with just 1:49 remaining in the game, Drexel was barely ahead of UNCW with a game score of 60-59.
With 1:21 left, Schluth made a clutch jump shot to increase Drexel’s lead to three points. Then, after Steele went 1-2 from the free throw line for UNCW, Curran connected on both of her free throw attempts to extend Drexel’s lead to 64-60.
After the Seahawks turned the ball over on their next possession, they fouled Drexel’s sophomore forward Kelsi Lidge, which sent her to the free throw line for two shots. Lidge sank both her shots from the charity stripe. Her second basket was the final point of the game, giving Drexel a 66-60 victory over UNCW.
Lidge was a major contributor in the win for the Dragons. She scored 12 points, a career high, and pulled down four rebounds for Drexel.
The other players in double-digit points for the Dragons were Curran and junior guard Jessica Pellechio, who scored 13 and 14 points respectively.
With both a win and a loss last week, the Dragons changed their regular season record to 13-11 and their CAA record to 9-4, which has them tied with Hofstra University for second place in the conference.
Next up on the schedule for the Dragons is a home game at the Daskalakis Athletic Center against Towson University at 7 p.m. Feb. 19.