#14 Dragons Fall to #3 Georgia 67 – 53 in the First Round
March 22, 2021 –
The gritty and determined Drexel Dragons followed the plan, to be disruptive and take the Georgia Bulldogs out of a comfort zone. By doing so stayed in contention for three quarters before the size and pressure of the Bulldogs in the fourth quarter took its toll. The season ends for Drexel losing the in the first round to Georgia 67 – 53 in a game closer than the final score indicates.
“This game is indicative of our team all season long,” said Drexel Coach Amy Mallon. “We fought so hard and left it all out on the floor. It’s what you want to see your team do in the last game. I just reminded them it’s not about this one game. It’s about the chance to play this game is what our season is about, and they put themselves in position to play this game. I’m proud of the fight we showed today.”
Hannah Nihill scored a game-high 22 points making 10 of 22 field goal attempts and was 2 of 7 from beyond the arc. Nihill added 23 assists and 2 steals. She was the only Dragons player to score in double figures.
“It was abut my teammates setting good screens for me to be able to get open and be in the midrange to get that shot off,” said Nihill.
Early in the game the style of play tilted in the Dragons direction. The Bulldogs were shooting a low percentage and turned the ball over too frequently. Drexel held 15 – 10 after one quarter, and went into the locker room tied at 25. Georgia took control in the third quarter, then their size and strength would take over. While the defense held, a need for more offense began to work against the Dragons.
“The main thing was we started missing shots,” Mallon said. “Once you start missing shots, and you’re not getting stops at the other end it starts a bit of a rush not thinking there is a lot of time left in the game.”
Drexel shot 24 of 66 (36.4%), 5 of 19 in the third quarter. The three-point line was not friendly as the Dragons made just 3 of 16, 2 by Nihill, 1 by fellow guard Keishana Washington. It tied the season-low for made triples.
Georgia started the game without guard Gabby Connally who had an lower body injury and leading scorer Jenna Staiti who was late arriving due to an undisclosed medical reason. Both played, and it was Staiti that made her presence felt scoring 19 points, all in the second half.
Georgia getting to the foul line turned out to be a determining factor. The Bulldogs made 15 of 20 from the foul line while the Dragons got to the charity stripe only twice.
“One of our keys was to make them earn every basket, and when you put them at the foul line, you make it easier on them,” said Mallon.
In the second half Nihill caught an inadvertent elbow to the eye. She left the game for a short period of time, then realized she may have reached a goal she set for herself.
“My dream is to have a black eye, that would look really cool,” Nihill said. “I saved it for the last game of the season for it. I really hope it happens.”
Washington was held to 7 points, but dished out 5 assists. Hetta Saatman scored 8 points, tying her career-high, and pulled down 7 rebounds. Mariah Leonard contributed 6 points and a team-high 8 rebounds. 6 off the offensive glass.
Que Morrison led Georgia posting a double-double with 11 points, 12 rebounds, and nearly got the triple-double by handing out 8 assists. The Bulldogs sank 24 of 58 field goal attempts (41.4%).
The horn sounded, the season ends. The future is still to be determined. For now, despite the loss, the feeling is that the season ended on a up-note.
“I was a little sad because we worked so hard this season,” said Nihill about the season ending. “It’s never good when something ends, but I was really proud of all my teammates. We reminded each other to keep our heads high and smile about all we accomplished to get here.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian