Women’s basketball continues strong showing in conference play | The Triangle

Women’s basketball continues strong showing in conference play

Rachel Pearson dribbles the ball down the court for the Dragons. (Photo Courtesy - Drexeldragons.com)
Rachel Pearson dribbles the ball down the court for the Dragons. (Photo Courtesy – Drexeldragons.com)

The Drexel University Dragons have proven to be hot in the past two weeks, jumping to a four-game winning streak with wins at home and on the road versus the College of Charleston and the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

The Drexel women’s basketball team’s success has been largely attributed to the tight defense the team has displayed over the last four games, which has proven especially important with several lapses on the offensive end in the second half. In the past two games, the Dragons have held their opponents to low-scoring, with Charleston scoring 47 and UNC Wilmington only putting 44 on the board.

“The defense has helped us get the wins in the end,” Head Coach Denise Dillon said. While she noted that the offense is hot and cold at times for the Dragons, she was sure to give the team “credit on the defensive end.”

In their game against Charleston, highlights came from Sarah Curran and Rachel Pearson, each netting 18 points for the game. Drexel controlled the lead for the entire game, leading the Cougars 29-11 going into halftime.

Again, their first half lead propelled them to the win, as the Cougars scored 36 points in the second half to Drexel’s 35, as the Dragons turned the ball over eight times in the last 20 minutes. Despite the fact that they were outscored in the second half, they held on to the win, the final score of the game was 64-47.

Versus the University of North Carolina Wilmington, a slew of Dragons contributed to get Drexel the win. All of the eight players that hit the court contributed on the scoreboard, and six of the eight added at least three rebounds apiece.

Similarly, Drexel had the lead for the whole game, with their largest lead being 17 points. However, unlike their last game and several other performances that weren’t up to par in the last 20 minutes of play, the Dragons dominated in the second half. While they were only up by six at halftime, in the second half they outscored the Seahawks by 11 points.

Double-digit contributions came from Florence Ouattara with 10 and Pearson with 13. Jamila Thompson dominated the boards, grabbing nine rebounds in the win.

Pearson, the second leading scorer for the Dragons averaging 11.8 points per game, has now had six performances in a row where she has scored double digits. Last week, she earned athlete of the week honors for Drexel for her performance in the last two games. She is second in the league in three-point shooting performance, going 39.6 percent from behind the arc.

Drexel, now 8-2 in Colonial Athletic Association play, has a good hold on the second place spot within the conference behind rival James Madison University who is 9-0. After playing The College of William & Mary Friday, Feb. 6 at home, they will face James Madison Sunday, Feb. 8 at 2 p.m. in the Daskalakis Athletic Center.

Dillon acknowledges that the game against James Madison will be a tough one to pull off, despite the fact that the Dragons home court advantage. In terms of a win, she said, “[we would have] to have the best game [that day] in order to do so.

“[James Madison] has separated themselves from every other team in the league … with eight games remaining, past the halfway point, it would be tough to knock them out,” Dillon continued.

The key in the game against James Madison will be limiting the catches of their best player, Precious Hall, and other standout Lauren Okafor, who are averaging 21 and 13.6 points respectively.

“We’re focusing on the games we can win at home,” Dillon said, “We’re trying to hold on to that [number] two spot.”