PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/26/2018 – Both teams have been tough at home this season. Drexel is a perfect 8 – 0 at the DAC. The Elon Phoenix was looking for the first conference road win. It looked like Elon was going to get that initial CAA road victory, but the Drexel Dragons found a way to win over a wild last 3:19 to earn a 58 – 56 victory. It was the largest fourth quarter comeback by the Dragons. The game came down to the last shot, but a jumper by Malaya Johnson of the Phoenix bounced off the rim as the horn sounded. Poise at the end counted.
“We do a really great job of coming together and playing with a sense of urgency, but not going chaotic on offense and defense,” said Drexel forward Kelsi Lidge who scored a team-high 17 points, 14 in the second half. “We focus on one possession at a time, getting a score and getting back into the game.”
Elon led by as many as 10 twice in the fourth quarter the last with just over 7 minutes remaining. Drexel began their comeback. Trailing 54 – 52 the Dragons got a steal and went for a fast break layup. The shot missed, but Sara Woods got an offensive rebound. After another miss Bailey Greenberg got the ball off the offensive glass, passed the ball out to Hannah Nihill who hit a three-pointer.
“I think just shoot it and the other seniors say that every shot that goes up, if you think goes in, it will,” Nihill said about taking the three.
On the ensuing possession Elon committed a shot clock violation. Later, Drexel missed, but Woods followed her shot and got the rebound. Later in the sequence a layup by Aubrey Brown gave Drexel a 57 – 54 lead with 1:13 to play.
Johnson brought the Phoenix to within a point again with a short jumper, 2 of her game-high 20 points with just under a minute to play. Elon got the ball back again, but Nihill stole the ball. Lidge was fouled and made one of two for the final margin of victory.
Greenberg and Woods scored 11 points each, Woods pulled down 9 boards for the Dragons, one shy of her career-high. Brown added 5 assists and 3 steals
Shay Burnett scored 13 points for Elon (12 – 7, 4 – 4) and had 10 rebounds recording her fourth double-double of the season.
Drexel (15 – 5, 7 – 1) is on a five-game win streak, the longest of the season. They solidify their hold on second place in conference.
It was a wild one, but satisfying late for the Dragons in many ways.
“For a player like Kelsi it’s persuasion and perseverance,” said Drexel Coach Denise Dillon about what she saw from her team over the last few minutes if this game. “And it has tricked down to her teammates. What she is telling the team is an extension of us. It is one possession at a time, get a stop and we will take advantage on the other end. They are going to give themselves a chance, get a shot, get a rebound and give ourselves another chance. When they are on the same page, that’s all that matters.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian