Drexel Came Back From 17 Points Behind to Win 61 – 58 Over Bucknell
PHILADELPHIA, PA. 3/21/2022 –
The Drexel Dragons advance to the Sweet 16 of the WNIT for the first time since 2013. That year the Dragons won it all. Win number 28 of the season ties the program record for most single season victories. But with just under 8 minutes remaining in the fourth quarter Drexel trailed Bucknell 47 – 30. It had all the appearances of the campaign coming to an end. But as Lee Corso would say ‘not to fast my friend.’ The Dragons rallied over those last seven-plus minutes to cap the rally and move on. They won the fourth quarter 31 – 15. And personified their mantra of ‘Hash Tag No Doubt.’
“Believe it or not in the locker room I was a little speechless, probably a surprise to my team,” said Drexel Coach Amy Mallon. “I’m just so proud of this team. Look at the situation we were in. This is one of the best games I’ve ever seen in a comeback. The ability to do that just shows the toughness we have as a group. When you play Drexel teams, you’re never safe. It doesn’t matter. You can be up fifteen knowing we are going to fight until the end. We did that today and put ourselves in a position to win the game.”
Keishana Washington Rose to the Occassion
Keishana Washington was held scoreless until the 5:40 mark on a traditional three-point play. To that time Washington was 0 for 6 and did not go to the foul line. In the fourth quarter she would go on to convert 5 of 11 shots and sank her 7 free throws. All of her 17 points came in the fourth quarter. Washington could sense the urgency.
“Being down seventeen the only thing you can do is be in attack mode at that point,” said Washington. “This team has been down plenty of times before this season. We know what it takes to play and push to come back and win the game.”
“Shoot the ball and make the shot, that was my mentality.”
Start of the Rally
A three-pointer by Maura Hendrixson at the 5:09 mark brought Drexel to within single-digits at 49 – 40. Momentum began to switch. Bucknell stretched the lead back to 13 on 5 straight points by Celia Collins, who scored a game-high 23 points. Then, Washington really took over scoring 14 of the next 21 points. Forward Jasmine Valentine would get the other 7 points in the final 4:14, hitting a critical put-back with 50 seconds left to give the Dragons a 57 – 56 lead.
“She came in the game and got some crucial buckets and rebounds for us,” Mallon said about the contribution from Valentine. “She did a tremendous job. Sixteen minutes, seven points, five rebounds, all in key moments for us.”
The Valentine basket started a string of lead changes that lasted until Washington made two free throws giving Drexel the lead for the rest of the game. With 9 seconds left Washington converted two from the line for the final points.
Bucknell still had a chance. The Bison worked the ball inside to Emma Shaffer who turned toward the basket, but her shot was blocked by Tessa Brugler, who played at Bucknell until her graduate year transfer to 33rd Street. Marly Walls put up a last second three-pointer trying to tie the game for the Bison, but it was off the mark.
Hannah Nihill led the Dragons with 18 points and Mariah Leonard added 11 points and a team-high tying 7 rebounds. Nihill stole the ball 4 times.
Shaffer scored 14 points and took down 11 rebounds for the Bison. Taylor O’Brien contributed 11 points. Walls assisted 6 times, the most in the game.
Drexel moves on to play at Seton Hall on Thursday. More games to play.
Written By: Glenn Papazian
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