Prior to the start of the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament, members of the Drexel Dragons women’s basketball team received well-deserved honors at the conference’s awards banquet March 13 in Upper Marlboro, Md.
Senior guard Hollie Mershon was honored twice on the evening. Mershon was named First Team All-CAA for her efforts. She leads the Dragons this season in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals and free-throw percentage this season. This was her second consecutive All-CAA award. She was named Second Team All-CAA in 2012. Mershon led the Dragons in scoring for the first time in her career with 19.4 points per game, which was second in the CAA this season. Mershon was also the recipient of the Dean Ehlers Award, which goes to the student-athlete who “embodies the highest standards of leadership, integrity and sportsmanship in conjunction with her academic-athletic achievement.” Mershon was not the only Dragon to receive an award on the evening.
Fellow senior Taylor Wootton was named Third Team All-CAA, as she averaged 11 points and 4.5 rebounds per game. Freshman Meghan Creighton was also named to the CAA All-Rookie Team. Creighton started all 29 games for the Dragons this season and had a very impressive 2:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. While the Dragons enjoyed the awards banquet, they were all aware of what is ahead of them as they take on The College of William & Mary March 15 for their first match of the tournament. The Dragons head into the tournament as the No. 3 seed. The two teams seeded ahead of them are the two teams who last defeated the Dragons and who truly stand in their way of a CAA title.
“I feel we are prepared. They’ve put together the effort, they paid attention and stuck together, so you feel good leading up to the match,” head coach Denise Dillon said about her team’s state leading up to the match.
The Dragons know that they can count on two things as they head into the tournament: Mershon and their defense. The defense, anchored by Wootton and fellow senior Renee Johnson-Allen, allowed just 52.3 points per game heading into the CAA Tournament, second in the league and two points better than last year’s squad that set a Drexel program record at 54.3 points allowed per contest. Mershon is the team’s focal point on offense. However, she may be the only key individual whom teams focus on during games, which presents a problem for Dillon and her team.
“It’s really the balanced attack; it can’t come down to Hollie Mershon. That’s not to put pressure on Taylor [Wootton] and Fiona [Flanagan], but you need that balanced attack,” Dillon said.
While Wootton has stepped up her scoring as of late, teams still know that if they can stop Mershon, chances are they will defeat the Dragons. Dillon has continued to stress the need to keep moving the ball and find the right player to make the right plays. Creating more scoring opportunities for players other than Mershon will be the key deciding factor in the Dragons’ chance at a CAA title.
If the Dragons are to win the CAA title, they know the University of Delaware and James Madison University are standing in their way. However, before they think about playing those teams, they must first defeat William & Mary.