The Drexel women’s basketball team heads into one of its biggest games of the season in tremendous form. The Dragons will face the University of Delaware Jan. 27 at the Daskalakis Athletic Center in what is expected to be the premier matchup of the Colonial Athletic Association season. The match will feature the two teams with the best records in the conference: Drexel at 6-0 and Delaware at 5-0.
The previous two games for the Dragons show that they are ready to compete against the defending CAA champions. The Dragons defeated The College of William & Mary 58-46 Jan. 20 thanks to a dominating performance from their frontcourt. Seniors Taylor Wootton and Nicki Jones combined for 37 points and nine rebounds. Wootton, who was named the CAA co-Player of the Week, scored 22 points, two points shy of her career high 24, which she set in the previous match against Hofstra University. Jones had her second-best scoring performance of the season with 15 points, but what was more impressive was that she was a perfect 7 of 7 from the field.
Despite a strong performance from the team, Dillon was worried about her team’s recent first-half performances.
“We haven’t played a full two halves yet as a team. I would like to see them play two strong halves,” Dillon said about falling behind in the first half of consecutive games.
The Dragons heard their coach’s message loud and clear. They put together a performance in their next match against Northeastern University that their coach would be proud of. The Dragons defeated Northeastern 85-73 to earn Dillon her 100th career CAA victory. She becomes just the fifth women’s basketball coach in CAA history to achieve such a mark.
“It’s a nice honor to have, but it’s the players who have done this. The teams that we have had are the reason for the success I’ve had,” Dillon said.
The records didn’t stop there. Along with earning her 100th career CAA victory, the win against Northeastern marked the first time the Dragons have gone 6-0 in conference play. The victory was led by outstanding performances from senior Hollie Mershon and Wootton. Mershon was on fire from the start and had a career-high 33 points, shooting 12 of 16 and 4 of 5 from three-point range. Wootton, who scored over 22 points for the third consecutive game, had a career-high 26 points in the game. This marked the first time since 2010 that two Dragons scored more than 25 points in a game.
The Dragons shot 30-49, 61 percent, from the field, including a red-hot 7 of 8 from three-point range. However, it was not all offense in the match. Jones was a strong defensive force in the first half, as she had two blocks and seven deflected passes that led to turnovers.
This was a performance that Dillon didn’t see coming. Heading into the game, Northeastern was the highest-scoring team in the CAA. However, despite the Huskies scoring five points more than their season average, the Dragons still defeated them by 12 points. The Dragons needed to have a strong effort defensively to defeat Northeastern, but an offensive outburst such as this is one that no one saw coming.
“We believe in each other; this game speaks to our work ethic. We take each game seriously, and we recognize the importance of each game,” junior Fiona Flanagan said of her team’s recent strong performances.
“Coach [Dillon] is awesomeness; it means a lot to us to help her reach that goal,” Flanagan continued.
In order to improve to 7-0, the Dragons will need to pass their toughest test of the season against the defending CAA champions, the Blue Hens of Delaware.