Drexel Outlasts Norfolk State to Advance
PHILADELPHIA, PA. 3/17/2022 –
The Dragons move on winning a grind it out game against the Norfolk State Spartans 54 – 47 at the DAC. The game was not an offensive showcase, but Drexel had enough at the end to post the victory. The team needed to put the CAA Championship game previous loss to Delaware behind them. They did and will continue playing this season. The first game in a tournament is always a tough one.
“At this time of year to win and advance, that’s your goal,” said Drexel Coach Amy Mallon. “We knew we were going to face a very tough team. Our team stayed composed and did a great job of getting shots we were capable of making.”
Points were going to be at a premium. Neither team shot the ball well, both at 31.5%. The game was going to be decided by the little things; rebounds, defense, assists, hustle plays. Enter Drexel guard Maura Hendrixson who was playing in her first post season tournament game. She pulled down a career-high 13 rebounds, and handed out 8 assists, one shy of her career-mark in that category. Hendrixson blocked one shot in over 36 minutes of playing time knowing she had to contribute in all aspects of the game.
“It is part of our game plan and if shots aren’t falling, you have to do the little things,” said Hendrixson.
Norfolk State was a new opponent. Drexel did not have much time to prepare. The Spartans are a quick team and their defensive pressure took the Dragons out of their normal offensive rhythm.
“They are very quick,” Mallon said about the opposition. “I knew we’d be in trouble on the offensive end with their zone and they play a matchup. The thing that is hard about playing against a matchup is that you can’t dictate who is going to get the shots. You have to be able to move the ball and get the ball to open people. You have to get comfortable. We had to fight for the points we did get.”
Finally Drexel settled down. They took a 41 – 36 lead into the fourth quarter. Norfolk State got to within 43 – 41 with 6:41 remaining. The Dragons answered by keeping separation, then took their largest lead at 53 – 45 at the 37.9 second mark.
Keishana Washington scored a game-high 16 points and Tessa Brugler got 13 points and 7 rebounds. Nihill contributed 9 points, and Hendrixson added 6 points to her stat line. All seven Dragons who played scored.
Norfolk State had three players score in double-figures. Deja Francis had a team-high 12 points. Camille Downs contributed 10 points and a team-best 8 rebounds and 4 assists. Mahoganie Williams added 10 points.
Resilient Drexel plays on and bounces back after the disappointing loss.
“This time of year is a chance at redemption,” Mallon said. “To step out on the court that you had a really tough loss on and find a way to win, this team is one of the toughest teams to ever play here at Drexel. I’m really proud of the bounce back.”
The winner of the Fordham vs. Bucknell game is the next opponent at a site to be determined. Brugler played for Bucknell last season and coach Trevor Woodruff. Fordham is coached by Stephanie Gaitley who was a college coach for Mallon. The question between Mallon and Bugler ‘is it going to be my former coach or your former coach?’
Written By: Glenn Papazian