The Drexel University women’s basketball team tipped off their regular season last week with two home games. The Dragons fell in a tight season opener to the Quinnipiac University Bobcats 56-52 Nov. 9, and picked up their first win of the season against the Saint Joseph’s University Hawks 51-34 Nov. 11.
The Bobcats came into the Daskalakis Athletic Center as the top ranked mid-major program in the country and put up a strong fight. Early in the match it was a close, physical affair.
The Dragons got on the board first on a pull up jumper by junior Bailey Greenberg to make it 2-0. A Euro step layup by junior Aubree Brown gave the Dragons a 11-9 lead. The Bobcats took the lead back on a layup by redshirt junior Jen Fey to make it 13-11. Then with 2:02 minutes remaining in the opening quarter, senior Eline Maesschalck drained a triple to give the Dragons a 14-13 lead going into the break.
Freshman Keishana Washington got the scoring started in the second quarter with a steal and score. The Drexel lead was increased to seven on a three from freshman Kate Connolly, but Quinnipiac went on a 7-0 run of their own to tie it up at 26. Brown was able to drive and net another layup to give the Dragons a 28-26 lead going into halftime.
Drexel was able to capture the early advantage thanks to strong shooting. In the first half, the Dragons shot 12 of 21 from the floor, good for 57.1 percent, while the Bobcats struggled on just 32.4 percent shooting. However, Quinnipiac was able to stay within striking distance due to Drexel mistakes. The Dragons allowed 10 offensive rebounds and turned the ball over 15 times in the half.
In the second half, Quinnipiac was able to capitalize on those mistakes. After a layup by Greenberg knotted things up at 32, the Bobcats went on another 7-0 to take a strong lead. Fay lead the run with a layup and a three pointer, prompting a Drexel timeout.
The weak defense made head coach Denise Dillon heated in the huddle, but the Dragons didn’t have much of a response. Quinnipiac would take the 43-37 lead into the fourth quarter.
In the final quarter, Drexel came close, but was unable to mount the comeback. Quinnipiac increased its lead to 10 with 8:07 left in the quarter on a score by sophomore guard Taylor Herd.
Sophomore point guard Hannah Nihill gave the Dragons the spark they were looking for in the quarter. Nihill quickstarted a 11-3 Drexel run that cut the Bobcat lead to two. Nihill hit a jumper, two free throws and a three from the top of the key to get the Dragons back in the game. Seven of Nihill’s 11 points came during the fourth quarter.
A layup by Greenberg, assisted by junior Ana Ferariu, made the score 50-48 Quinnipiac with 3:25 to go in the game. The Bobcats responded on a basket in the paint by junior Paula Strautmane to put the lead back to four. Quinnipiac missed a pair of free throws then Greenberg hit one of two at the line to cut the lead to three again. Fay drove into the paint, hit the layup and was fouled. Fay was unable to complete the three-point play, but it increased the Bobcats lead to five with 1:12.
Brown missed a pair of crucial free throws with a minute remaining. Quinnipiac got the lead up to six on a free throw by Strautmane. With 7.6 seconds left on the clock, Maesschalck hit a deep three from the top of the key to cut the lead to three, but it was too little too late, making the final score 56-52 Quinnipiac.
Greenberg had the fourth double-double of her career. She led the game with 17 points and posted 10 rebounds. Fay wasn’t far behind with her team-leading 15 points and eight rebounds for the Bobcats.
Quinnipiac won the game in the paint. They scored 40 of their 56 points from inside the paint, while Drexel only scored 20 points inside. Drexel’s 22 turnovers didn’t help the cause either, compared to only 14 for Quinnipiac. Lastly, the Dragons’ strong shooting from the first half didn’t carry over to the second. The Dragons shot 8 of 26 from the floor in the second half, good for 30.7 percent.
Drexel had a better day at the DAC against, Saint Joe’s. The Dragons put on a commanding performance against the Hawks, dominating from the opening tip off.
The Dragons got off to the best start possible, going on a 16-0 run. Brown kicked off the run with a second chance bucket. Brown then hit a jumper which was followed up by a Nihill layup. Junior Niki Metzel got in on the party with a putback off an offensive rebound that forced a timeout by the Hawks.
Drexel kept up the onslaught after the break. Ferariu came up with a steal and passed up to Greenberg who drilled a three. Ferariu then hit a jumper of her own to make it 13-0. The run was capped off by another three by Greenberg from the top of the key assisted by Nihill.
Saint Joe’s was unable to accomplish anything offensively in the quarter. They shot a dreadful 0-9 from the field, including 0-6 from beyond the arc. The Hawks were also turnover prone in the quarter, giving up the ball six times. As for Drexel, 12 of the 16 points in the quarter came by way of turnovers. The scoreless defensive quarter was the first in over 30 years in Drexel women’s basketball.
The Hawks scored their first points of the game 10 seconds into the second quarter on a bucket by graduate student Rachel Gartner. The score ignited a 6-0 run for the Hawks, but was ended by a three from Brown. The Hawks would get another two buckets by senior Michala Clay, but Drexel took a 21-11 lead into halftime.
In the third quarter, the Hawks were able to narrow the gap, but the Dragons maintained the lead. Saint Joe’s ended the quarter on a 7-0 run started by a jumper from senior Alyssa Monaghan. However, in the fourth quarter the Dragons outscored the Hawks 18-8 in order to seal the 51-34 victory.
Greenberg led the game with 17 points and added eight rebounds. For her efforts over the weekend she was named a Drexel School of Education Athlete of the Week for the week ending Nov. 11. Brown had a nice day as well, racking up 12 points and four steals for the Dragons. The Hawks were led by Monaghan who scored 10 points.
Neither team was stellar shooting the ball. Drexel went 19-55 shooting, including 4-17 from beyond the arc. Saint Joe’s finished 11-42 from the floor, including 1-12 from three point range for a meager 8.3 percent.
The Dragons took on the Bucknell University Bison Nov. 15 at the Daskalakis Athletic Center. Drexel will go on the road next weekend to participate in the TD Bank Classic in Burlington, Vermont. They will face off against the Siena College Saints Nov. 23 at 7 p.m., then either the Wagner College Seahawks or the University of Vermont Catamounts Nov. 24.