Offensive Flow and Solid Defense Key in 63 – 43 Victory
PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/25/2022 –
In the previous encounter at the end of January in Virginia, Drexel did not get off to a good start. They struggled for most of the game. Finally, the Dragons survived winning in double overtime. This game Drexel was ready. Setting the tone early on both ends of the floor resulted in a dominating 63 – 43 win at the DAC.
“I was really happy with our start tonight to come out and set the tone defensively from the tap was a goal of ours,” said Drexel Coach Amy Mallon. “Drexel basketball, what we do on the defensive end is we limit and contest the looks they are getting, but on the offensive end we get a good shot. We do that by moving the ball and making sure we hit that open person.”
The Defensive Effort
On the defensive end of the floor the Dragons limited the Tribe offense to 6 of 22 from the floor (27.3%) in the middle two quarters. William & Mary scored 5 points in the second quarter and 8 in the third. The five points was the third least allowed points given up by Drexel this season.
“When you can play defense like that and have that be the result, that’s what you’re looking to do,” said Mallon. “That sets the momentum for you. When we start out not on the right tome defensively, you can see it affect our offense, and vice versa. When we are not making shots our defense tends to lack in areas.”
“In the second and third quarter, to give up five points and eight points, that was something we talked about even at halftime.”
Defensively the Dragons held the Tribe’s leading scorer Riley Casey to 4 points, and she did not make a three-pointer. In the January game Riley poured in 24 points.
Overall, W&M went 18 of 49 in field goal attempts (36.7%) and sank 3 of 15 from beyond the arc. The Tribe turned the ball over 15 times. Drexel stole the ball 7 times, and Hannah Nihill had 4 of them, one shy of her career-high. Brugler blocked 3 shots.
“I like to protect the rim and like my teammates to know they can trust me if they get beat on defense, help them when they need it,” Brugler said about her interior defensive play. “It makes them more comfortable defending on the perimeter.”
The Motion Caused Commotion for the Opponent
Let’s transition to the offensive end of the floor. Drexel started the game making 84.6% from the floor (11 of 13) which represented the highest shooting percentage in any quarter for the Dragons this season. The ball was getting inside to forward Tessa Brugler. For the game the graduate made 8 of 12 for 18 points, all inside the arc. Her highest number of made field goals this season is 10.
With Brugler establishing the inside, it opened up the outside. Guard Keishana Washington scored 20 points on 8 of 13 shooting, and Nihill contributed 12 points and 8 assists, one shy of her career-high. There was a good motion and flow to the offense.
“We got off to a really good start,” said Brugler. “That helps with our confidence by being able to keep moving on offense, and that makes it hard for the other team to guard all five of us when we are all moving.”
Drexel got out on the fast break getting 13 points in that category to 2 for W&M. For the game the Dragons made just under half of their shots (27 of 56).
The separation gave a chance for Coach Amy Mallon to give time on the floor to all of her players. The team responded as every one contributed something to the stat sheet.
The Goals for the Postseason
Drexel sits atop the CAA standings at 14 – 1, and 22 – 3 overall. The regular season ends on Sunday when they host Elon on what will be an emotional Senior Day.
Then, the conference tournament looms, and it will be on the Drexel home floor. Mallon feels the team is trending in the right direction, and wants to be better for the postseason.
“It is and I think they understand that we need to continue to do things that we do well,” Mallon felt. “But we also have things we need to tune in on. Things we can take advantage of. I always refer to Hannah, Keishana, and Tessa as out three-headed Dragon. Three players that can score in multiple ways which makes us hard to defend. But also I am still looking for (Maura) Hendrixson, (Kate) Connolly, and other players to look to contribute. That’s ultimately where you want to be when you head into the tournament. Everyone is on, embracing their roles, and able to step in and take a shot when a shot is needed to be taken, and do the little things on the court. I think we are right there where we need to be. And I said to the seniors I am going to squeeze every ounce of whatever you have in you, out for the tournament before your careers are over, every day.”
Written By: Glenn Papazian