Dragons bounce back and bury the Huskies

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After having its seven game winning streak snapped in a 48-45 home loss to Elon University Jan. 6, the Drexel University women’s basketball team responded with a 63-33 blowout on the road against Northeastern University Jan. 8.

Senior guard Jessica Pellechio led the charge for the Dragons and picked up the 1,000th point of her career in a 20 point scoring outburst against the Huskies. Pellechio shot a near perfect six of seven from three point range and seven of eight from the field.

Senior guard Meghan Creighton also had a solid outing from deep, scoring 16 points on four of seven
shooting behind the three point arc. Creighton’s three point shot has been virtually automatic
this season. Through 14 games, she’s shooting a jaw dropping 51.4 percent on three point shot attempts, which, if it holds, would be a program record.

Senior forward Sarah Curran was Drexel’s third leading scorer against Northeastern as she dropped 11 points and dished out a team high six assists.

On what was her 21st birthday, Junior forward Sara Woods pulled down a career high 10 rebounds, which led the Dragons for the day.

With Pellechio, Creighton and Curran each reaching double digits, it was the ninth time in 14 games this season that at least three Dragons scored 10 points. In those nine games, Drexel has a perfect 9-0 record. The Dragons’ balanced scoring this season has been a testament to their extraordinary depth, which is the biggest reason they are a threat to win the Colonial Athletic Conference.

Drexel’s contest with Northeastern started off as a back and forth struggle. Pellechio got off to a hot start, connecting on deep three-point shot attempts during Drexel’s second and third positions. Creighton also got off to a strong start in the first quarter, making two jump shots, one of which was a three.

Despite Drexel’s strong start on offense in the first quarter, the Huskies had an answer for nearly every shot that the Dragons made. After the first ten minutes of the contest, Drexel held a narrow 16-14 lead.

However, the Dragons put the clamps on the Huskies offense in the second quarter and held Northeastern to just two points in the period. Drexel forced the Huskies to commit six turnovers and shoot one for twelve from the field in the second quarter.

At the 44 second mark in the second quarter, Pellechio drained a triple, giving her 1,001 points for her career. Her sharpshooting helped Drexel take a 32-16 lead into halftime.

The Dragons dominance continued into the second half, where they outscored the Huskies 31-17. Pellechio missed her only field goal attempt early on in the third quarter, but ended up making three more threes to pad Drexel’s lead.

On the strength of their defense and three point shooting, the Dragons cruised to a 63-33 victory. The win moved their record to 11-3 on the season and 2-1 in the CAA.

Earlier in the week, the Dragons dropped a tough 48-45 contest at home against the Elon Phoenix Jan. 6. It was the first game the Dragons played after ESPN ranked them the number one mid-major team in the nation.

With arguably the two best defensive teams in the CAA facing off, the game was a
defensive showcase. The Phoenix were able to apply a lot of pressure on the Dragons beyond the arc, especially in the first half where they forced Drexel to commit nine turnovers and held the Dragons to one of ten shooting from the three point one.

Despite their struggles on offense, the Dragons were able to remain in control because of their own solid defensive performance. In the first half, Drexel forced Elon to commit 10 turnovers and held them to 7 of 21 shooting from the field.

Heading into halftime, Drexel was clinging to a slim 21-18 lead. The Phoenix took control of the game in the third quarter, where they outscored the Dragons 17-10 and took a 35-31 lead into the final period.

Early in the fourth quarter, it looked as if the Dragons’ offense was coming alive. Drexel went on a 8-0 run in the opening three minutes of the fourth to take a four point lead. The Dragons would hold that lead all the way up until the 32 second mark in the fourth quarter, when Elon’s junior Shay Burnett netted a jumper in the paint to give her team a 46-45 lead.

Drexel had a chance to win the game on the ensuing possession, but the Elon defense gave the Dragons no open looks. Pellechio was forced to pull up for a contested jump shot on the baseline with five
seconds remaining, but airballed. Shortly after Pellechio’s miss, the shot clock expired, and Elon gained possession with just 2.6 seconds remaining.

Elon called a timeout to advance the ball to halfcourt, and Burnett was fouled after the inbounds pass with 1.5 seconds remaining. With Drexel over the limit, Burnett went to the line and nailed both of her free throws to give the Phoenix a 48-45 lead.

Drexel called a timeout to advance the ball to halfcourt and set up a three point play to force overtime. Curran received the inbounds pass and threw up a desperation three point shot from several feet behind the arc. Her shot fell short of the rim, and Elon came away with the 48-45 victory.

Elon’s success in the second half could be attributed to the fact that they were able to limit their turnovers. After halftime, the Phoenix turned the ball over just three times in comparison to eight times by Drexel.

Not only was it the first home loss of the season for the Dragons, but it was also their lowest scoring effort of the season.

Next up on the schedule for the Dragons is a road game against the University of North Carolina at Wilmington Jan. 13.