PHILADELPHIA, PA. 1/4/2019 – The Drexel Dragons women’s basketball team opened the Colonial Athletic Association portion of their schedule hosting the Towson Tigers. This game was the curtain raiser for Towson as well.
The game did not lack for excitement. It took a short jumper in the lane by Nukiya Mayo that went through the basket as the horn sounded to give the Tigers a 55 – 54 win over the Dragons at the DAC. Drexel gets off on the wrong side of the ledger in conference. Home wins are important in this league and the hosts could not come up with the victory.
“Over the first two games knowing it was Towson and JMU home it was huge for a number of reasons,” said Drexel Coach Denise Dillon. “It was the start of conference play against a team in Towson that is playing good basketball, athletic, it is a tough match for us. Having JMU on Sunday its big. We talked about adapting and being ready each possession. I felt that we did not come out of the locker room ready in the second half.”
The game was tied at 41 with just under 6 and a half minutes to play. From there no team had more than a two-point lead, and there were 7 lead changes.
The momentum seemed to favor Drexel at the end when forward Bailey Greenberg, who scored a team-high 17 points, hit a three-pointer giving the Dragons a 52 – 51 lead with 36 seconds remaining.
“I knew that we needed to put the ball in the basket,” Greenberg said. “I was open and I missed four before, but I figured this one would go in.”
The Dragons made a stop, then forward Niki Metzel converted a free throw for a two-point lead. The Tigers responded by getting the ball to guard Kionna Jeter who hit a jumper to tie it at the 3.9 second mark. Jeter led all scorers with 21 points. Towson fouled immediately. Drexel guard Hannah Nihill gave her team a one-point lead converting one of two from the line with 3.3 ticks to go.
Towson set up for a final shot without Jeter on the floor who fouled out with 39 ticks on the clock. The ball got to Mayo, who had 13 points, at the top of the key. She made it. The officials gathered at midcourt for a conference, then signaled to the scorers table that the field goal was good. The Tigers erupted in celebration, the disappointed Dragons went into their locker room.
At halftime the Blue and Gold held a 23 – 12 lead giving up only 2 second quarter points to the visitors. Towson erased the lead in the third quarter. The game would go back and forth. There were a total of 9 ties and 12 lead changes in the contest.
Drexel was able to create turnovers getting 23 in total, their opponents largest number this season, but the Dragons could only muster an 18 – 11 edge in points off turnovers.
“I think Keishana (Washington) and Hannah (Nihill) do a great job of on the ball defense, running around with a tremendous amount of energy,” said Greenberg. “It is our job from there to come up with the steal.”
Drexel stole the ball 12 times with Nihill and Niki Metzel each getting 4.
Towson used their size and speed to have a 17 – 6 advantage in fast break points, and did outrebound Drexel 43 – 26.
The Dragons fall to 8 – 4 for the season while the Tigers improve to 7 – 5. The Dragons host James Madison on Sunday. They will have to bounce back from a tough loss in a short period of time.
“That’s the challenge,” said Dillon. “You don’t have time to sulk. If you do, you miss an opportunity for the next game. This is an opportunity to see how we can embrace another hit. After losing this game, are we going to bounce back?”
Written By: Glenn Papazian