The Drexel women’s basketball team kicked off its 2013-14 season with a pair of mixed results. The Dragons opened their season against the University of Toledo in the first round of the Glass City Tournament in Toledo, Ohio.
The Dragons were led by senior Fiona Flanagan, who opened the season with a career-high 19 points. The Dragons started the game strong thanks to multiple baskets by Flanagan and sophomore Rachel Pearson, which gave them an early 12-4 lead. From then on, Toledo fought back to tie the game at 15-15. The following minutes until halftime were a back-and-forth affair that saw the Dragons head into the break with a 28-23 lead.
After halftime, the Dragons started to pull ahead of Toledo thanks to an 11-0 run led by Flanagan and freshman Sarah Curran, who was playing in her first collegiate game. Curran finished the game with seven points and three rebounds.
“Everything was a bit higher pace, but the team made it more comfortable for me, and the coaches did a good job, so I guess it was a smooth transition,” Curran said about her first game.
The Dragons eventually built a lead of 52-39 in the second half. Just when it seemed as if Drexel was going to pull away with a win, Toledo battled back once again and hit several shots to begin their comeback. With 4:30 to go, the score was 52-50, and Toledo was two points away from tying the game.
However, from that moment on, head coach Denise Dillon’s Dragons clamped down on defense and only allowed two points the rest of the game. While the team excelled on defense, it was sophomore Meghan Creighton who helped bring the game home for the Dragons on offense. Creighton hit several key shots and free throws to help close out the game for the Dragons. The final score was 65-52.
Dillon was pleased with her team’s performance against a tough Toledo team that has only lost 10 home games in the past five years.
“The girls came out ready to play; it was a pleasant surprise,” she said. “They knew what the game plan was. They stuck together and just battled it out.”
The following day, the Dragons took on Villanova University — Dillon’s alma mater — in the final round of the Glass City Tournament. Despite a familiarity with the Wildcats, the Dragons could not overcome a slow start to defeat Villanova. Villanova led for much of the game to beat the Dragons 63-52.
The Dragons received a strong performance once again from Flanagan, as she led the way for the Dragons with 17 points. Flanagan was 3-4 from three-point range and 7-9 overall from the floor. Freshman Alexis Smith scored the first 10 points of her collegiate career, all in the second half.
While the Dragons scored first thanks to a Curran basket 11 seconds into the game, Villanova controlled the pace of the game for much of the first half. Poor shooting from the Dragons also contributed to the lackluster first half, as the Dragons shot 7-23 from the field.
However, in the second half the Dragons built some momentum thanks to timely shots from senior Abby Reddick — who scored five of her six points in the second half — Smith, and sophomore Carrie Alexander. Alexander finished the game with six points. The Dragons were able to claw back within six in the second half but could not complete the comeback.
“We weren’t able to zero in on what we needed to do to make some of those stops,” Dillon said. “The inexperience, I think, really caught up to us quickly in day 2, but again, [in the] second half [we] kind of got together and recognized how can we make a difference.”
In the game, redshirt junior Jackie Schluth scored two points, her first points for the Dragons since the 2011-12 season.
The Dragons will have their home opener Friday, Nov. 15, against Providence College. This will be another early test for the Dragons, as Providence has scored over 100 points in both of its first two games.