The Dragons Erased a 24-Point Deficit, But the Cougars Held On
PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/6/2022
The Drexel Dragons, outplayed for the first 28 minutes, climbed back into the game tying it at 66 with just under a minute and a half to play. But the Cougars of the College of Charleston got two baskets and two free throws by Jenna Annecchiarico in the last minute plus to hang on and win for the first time ever at the DAC 74 – 73. Tessa Brugler led Drexel scoring a career-high 28 points.
“Every team is going to give you their best shot and we came out on the slower end of things,” said Drexel Coach Amy Mallon. “We didn’t dictate what we needed to do on the defensive end. And it affected us on the offensive end. We were a little hesitant at times. They took advantage especially inside with Aaryn Eady having 27 points. To fall one point short after being down twenty, it shows this team is capable of coming back when they’re down.”
During that first part of the game Charleston was able to pressure and take the Dragons out of synch in the offense. Drexel also could not stop Cougars forward Arynn Eady, who set her career-high in points, or Anika McGarity and her 17 points. Into the fourth quarter Charleston lead 61 – 41. Then Drexel began to turn the tables in much the same way. The Dragons pressure made the Cougars over handle the ball, and shots stopped dropping. The defense gave life to the offense as Drexel scored 32 points in the fourth quarter, their highest scoring quarter of the season compared to Charleston’s 15 points.
“We were able to do some full court pressing,” Mallon said. “It put us in position in a possession game to have a shot to win the game at the end.”
Two free throws by Brugler tied the score at 66 as 1:23 showed on the clock. Annecchiarico, who scored 13 points, answered for Charleston. She would score with 20 seconds remaining to restore the lead to four points. Brugler brought the Dragons back to within 2 five seconds later. Eady sank two free throws to make it a two-possession game. Brugler scored again, but Annecchiarico answered again from the charity stripe.
Brugler led the charge scoring 18 points in the final ten minutes. Keishana Washington added 8 of her 20 points in the final stanza. Hannah Nihill contributed 5 points including a long-distance three-pointer at the buzzer. It was close to being a four-point play as the officials looked at the video, called the basket good, but no foul was called.
“It’s going to hit us a little harder, because on your home court, these are games you want to win especially during conference play,” said Mallon.
For Drexel (17 – 3, 9 – 1) it was their first loss in the CAA. The defeat also ends a 14-game winning streak for the Dragons, who were tied with FGCU for the longest win streak in NCAA Division 1 women’s basketball.
“I’m just really proud that we were able to do and be in position to have a winning streak,” Mallon said about the streak being ended. “At the same time it’s day to day, game by game. I’m really proud of this team. Unfortunately, today it ended. Now, we have a new streak to start.”
Drexel and Delaware share the top-spot in the conference. Towson sits a game behind with eight games remaining to play in the regular season.
Written By: Glenn Papazian