PHILADELPHIA, PA. 3/10/2018 – The Drexel Dragons mounted a furious fourth quarter rally, but could not complete the comeback losing 57 – 45 to the Phoenix of Elon in the CAA Women’s Basketball final at the DAC. Elon will get the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament for the second straight year. Drexel, who won the regular season title, will be guaranteed a spot in the WNIT field.
“It was an amazing year exceeding many expectations,” said Drexel Coach Denise Dillon. “We fought to the end.”
Shay Burnett led Elon with 13 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists and was named the Tournament Most Outstanding Player.
The Phoenix got off to a fast start doubling up the Dragons 18 – 9 after one quarter that they maintained. Going into the last 10 minutes Elon was holding a 49 – 31 lead. Drexel started their comeback holding the opposition to one basket. The 14 – 2 run highlighted by three free throws by Hannah Nihill and two field goals by Kelsi Lidge brought the Dragons to within 51 – 45 on a layup by Niki Metzel with just over 4 minutes remaining.
“We are always fighting, never giving up,” said Lidge. “I think we showed that out there today.”
That would be the last points scored by Drexel. Elon answered a little less than 2 minutes later with a three-pointer by Meme Garner.
Nihill was the leading scorer for the Dragons with 14 points. Bailey Greenberg scored 13 points. As a team Drexel made only 15 of 59 from the floor and converted 5 of 23 from beyond the arc. Aubree Brown took down a team-high 6 rebounds.
Malaya Johnson scored a team-high 14 points for Elon. Saadia Mumford scored 13 points and grabbed a game-best 8 boards. The Phoenix made over half of their shots (21 – 41), but turned the ball over 19 times.
Lidge and Greenberg made the All-Tournament team along with Phoenix forward Malaya Johnson.
Drexel will await their post-season opponent on Monday, grateful for the chance to continue their season, and taking the sting out of a disappointing loss.
“It makes the sting a little less,” Dillon said. “This team is an NCAA caliber team. Playing in the WNIT, we will make it worth our while.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian