PHILADELPHIA, November 29, 2011 – The Drexel Dragons came into the Hagan Arena owning a three game winning streak over the Saint Joseph’s Hawks in women’s basketball. The Hawks broke the streak as they take a 59 – 50 win over the Dragons. Saint Joseph’s never trailed in the game, and held a 20 point lead late into the second half. Senior Guards Michelle Baker and Katie Kuester led the Hawks in scoring with 15 points. Drexel Junior Guard Hollie Mershon scored a game-high 20 points and added 8 rebounds in the loss.
“We did a great job at the start and that set the tone,” said Saint Joseph’s Coach Cindy Griffin. “We played aggressive defense and got big baskets on offense. We executed when we needed to.”
Saint Joseph’s got off top a fast start in the game taking a 17 – 8 lead with 9:51 on the clock behind 9 points by Baker. The lead grew to 15 points as Baker made a jump shot with 2:59 in the half giving the Hawks a 27 – 12 lead. The Crimson and Gray took a 31 – 20 lead into the locker room. Saint Joseph’s made 13 of 27 shots in the first half compared to an 8 of 27 shooting performance for Drexel. The Dragons turned the ball over 8 times in the half that led to 9 Saint Joseph’s points.
“We always say to get that first punch,” said Kuester. “We executed well and carried off that.”
As the teams came out for the second half of play Saint Joseph’s got off to another fast start with a 9 – 2 run. During the run Drexel missed their first 10 shots. The only Dragon points came on 2 free throws by Junior Forward Taylor Wootton. The first basket for Drexel came on a 3-pointer by Senior Forward Kamile Nacickaite with 14:13 to play. Saint Joseph’s started to find the range from deep . Two 3-Pointers each from Kuester and Sophomore Guard Erin Shields put the Hawks in front 46 – 29 at the 9:10 mark. A layup by Baker gave the Crimson and Gray a 54 – 38 lead with 4:02 on the clock. That would be the last basket the home team would score. Meanwhile, Mershon made two from beyond the arc starting a small run for Drexel that cut the deficit to 8 with 50 seconds to play. Saint Joseph’s closed the scoring by making 5 of 6 free throws.
“Nothing we did was team oriented,” lamented Drexel Coach Denise Dillon. “That’s what I’m worried about. We ned all of our players to be involved and take big shots.”
For the game Drexel made 18 of 64 field goal attempts for 28.1% shooting. Nacickaite was the only other Drexel player in double figures with 12 points. Mershon also had a game-high tying 8 rebounds.
Saint Joseph’s was efficient on offense as they made 41.7% of their 48 shots, and had 14 assists on their 20 field goals. Shields and Junior Guard Ashley Prim shared a game-high 4 assists. Senior Forwards Kelly Cavallo and Samira Van Grinsven each pulled down 8 rebounds.
“Our biggest fear was missed defensive assignments and shooting poorly,” Dillon said.
The Hawks improve to 4 – 3 on the season and travel to Lafayette for their next game. On December 10 they will take the bus to the Main Line for a match against Villanova. The Dragons are 3 – 2 and get ready to play their first CAA game at North Carolina Wilmington.
Written By: Glenn Papazian