The Dragons Take a 55 – 47 Win at the DAC
PHILADELPHIA, PA. 2/26/2023 –
In the previous game in Virginia between these teams it was the William & Mary Tribe who handed the Drexel Dragons their largest loss in conference at 74 – 58, and the first loss for the Dragons in the CAA. Retribution was on the mind of the Drexel team in the return engagement. A battle was expected, and a battle it was. The Dragons held off a late charge by the Tribe and win 55- 47 to retain the top spot in the Colonial standings.
“We knew coming in today we were going to have to battle,” said Drexel Coach Amy Mallon. “I’m really proud of this team. Our defensive goal we hit today. Some of the composure we showed at times, especially when they went on their run, I think that’s all good signs for us moving forward.”
Keishana Washington continues her streak of twenty-point games to eight as she had a game-high 20 and handed out 5 assists. Maura Hendrixson handed out 9 assists and drained two from beyond the arc,
Drexel Took the Early Lead By Defending
The Tribe took a 12 – 10 lead on a traditional three-point play by Phoenixville native Sydney Wagner at the 4:34 mark. The scoreboard would not move off 12 for William & Mary for the next 8:04 seconds of play when Riley Casey converted a short jumper as six and a half minutes remained in the second quarter. The Dragons ran off 11 points in that time frame. The Tribe would score only 5 points in the second quarter making just 2 of 11 (18.2%) from the floor.
Drexel forced the opposition to play uphill. The team noticed and the defense spurred them on.
“We focus on that as a team,” said Hendrixson. “At practice we try to get three stops in a row. We remind each other, that’s two stops. Let’s get one more, so we were working toward that goal. That’s keeping them off the scoreboard and helping us a lot.”
Drexel Held Off a William & Mary Charge
In the fourth quarter the Dragons lead shrunk to 40 – 38 with just over nine minutes on the clock. The Dragons responded to go ahead 46 – 38 at the 6:30 mark behind a critical 6 – 0 run. The Tribe pulled to within five. Again, the Dragons responded to take a 54 – 43 lead on a jumper by Washington with 1:40 left to go. For Drexel it was a matter of doing what they do with the ball.
“Just running our offense, using screens to get open and trusting my teammates,” Washington explained. “The offense is something we practice all week, so I was prepared for whatever they’re going to throw at us. Just stay in the flow and not trying to force anything.”
The Hendrixson Factor in the Fourth Quarter
During that critical fourth quarter responding run that turned a two-point game to an eight-point lead Hendrixson played a huge role. She assisted on a basket by Kylie Lavelle, then a three-pointer by Grace O’Neill. On the next Tribe possession Hendrixson stole the ball to give Drexel possession and separation.
“She played forty minutes today and what she did on that forty minutes is why we call her the Furminator,” Mallon said. “She does a lot of little things to help us make sure we end up with that win.”
What the Numbers Say
William & Mary made 18 of 54 field goal attempts for 33.9%. The Tribe had two players score in double figures as Casey scored 12 points and Wagner added 13. Forward Kayla Beckwith grabbed a team-high 7 rebounds.
Lavelle scored 10 points, her ninth game in double figures this season. O’Neill pulled down a game-high 8 rebounds, one shy of her career-high set in the Buffalo game. The Dragons stole the ball 7 times led by O’Neill with 2. Five other players had a swipe.
William & Mary (15 – 12, 10 – 6) continues their road trip going to Monmouth on Thursday. The Tribe holds sixth place in the standings.
Drexel (21 – 7, 13 – 4) stays in first place in the league, and hosts North Carolina A & T next Sunday. There is a four-way tie for second place in the CAA. North Carolina A & T shares that spot with Stony Brook, Towson, and Northeastern. There are a lot of standings implications in the game next week at the DAC. The Dragons need to keep it going.
“That’s how you want your team feeling on the floor, playing together and staying connected for a forty minute period,” Mallon said.
Written By: Glenn Papazian