After a few weeks of official practice, Drexel appeared ready for a new season, as they defeated Bloomsburg 67-43 in regulation. However, because it was an exhibition game, the teams played an additional 10-minute overtime period simply to gain more valuable court time. During the final frame, Drexel extended its lead to 83-53 for a solid 30-point win. Senior guard Hollie Mershon led the way for the Dragons, scoring 24 points on 8-for-17 shooting from the field, as well as 6-for-8 shooting from the foul line. She also pulled down seven rebounds and recorded five assists on the day. Mershon is the backbone of this team both physically and mentally, and head coach Denise Dillon knows she will be essential to a strong season:
“We expect a great deal from Hollie. … She expects just as much from herself. Each year Hollie has improved on both ends of the court and continues to grow with the game,” Dillon said after the scrimmage. “We know Hollie is going to compete every time she steps on the floor. … We need every member of our team to have that mentality for us to be successful.”
Another one of Drexel’s key players is senior forward Nicki Jones, who will anchor the Dragons’ defense this season. In the scrimmage, Jones showed her defensive prowess with three blocks and five steals against the Huskies. She was efficient on the offensive end as well, making seven of 11 shots from the field and two of three from the free-throw line for 16 points. While the seniors will play a major role for Drexel this season, underclassmen are expected to make an impact as well. Freshman guard Meghan Creighton showed her ability to contribute immediately with a strong performance in the exhibition game. The rookie from Archbishop John Carroll High School led the team with 46 minutes played, during which she was 5 for 6 from three-point range for 15 total points. She also added four assists and grabbed four rebounds for the Dragons. Dillon said she sees Creighton as a smart player who has the ability to score and will surely be a weapon for Drexel:
“Meghan has great understanding of the game and our style of play, which allows us to put her in the starting lineup early in her career,” Dillon said. “Her ability to knock down jumpers gives us another offensive threat on the floor.”
Overall, the scrimmage with Bloomsburg gave the Drexel women’s team a chance to test their progress outside of practice and at full speed in a game situation. While there were many positives that came out of the exhibition, the Dragons also identified some of their weaknesses. Reflecting on the game, Dillon commented that she and her team “quickly realized what we need to work on to prepare for a tough out-of-conference schedule. Our communication on both ends of the floor needs to improve, and we must limit our turnovers.” In the week leading up to the season opener, Dillon said she intends to stress the importance of “taking care of the basketball and cherishing each possession.”
If the Dragons can effectively address some of those issues, the 2012-13 season will likely start on a positive note against Providence College.