Dragons enter playoffs on three game losing skid

Seniors WBBALL

With a 75-64 road loss to The College of William & Mary Tribe March 1, the Drexel University women’s basketball team concluded the regular season by extending its losing streak to three games.

This skid is anything but a good sign for the Dragons, who needed to enter the Colonial Athletic Association Tournament with momentum on their side.

Instead, they’ve picked up their first losing streak of the season. Before the loss to the Tribe, the losing stretch began with a 74-64 home loss on Senior Night to James Madison University Feb. 24, and continued with a 58-53 road loss to Hofstra.

With a 9-2 non-conference record, Drexel began the season with high hopes of finally getting back to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2009. While they had some bumps in the road during CAA play, the Dragons still looked like a contender, at least going into their Senior Night contest with JMU. Their last three games, however, have been about as discouraging as it can get.

Even Drexel’s last win, a 53-49 overtime home victory against the University of Delaware, was not an impressive showing.

Against JMU, Drexel came out flat and trailed by as many as 21 points in the second quarter. Much to their credit, the Dragons fought all the way back and got the game to within three points, 57-54, with 6:36 remaining in the fourth. However, the Dragons got in their own way and committed four turnovers in the final four minutes of the game, which ultimately was the difference in the 74-64 loss.

The Dragons had four players score in double figures, but it still wasn’t enough to take down JMU.

Drexel followed up its senior night loss with a lackluster performance on the road against the Hofstra University Pride, a team that finished tied for last in the CAA.

Early on, senior Sarah Curran was the only effective offensive option for the Dragons. Curran scored 12 of the Dragons’ 23 first-half points. Hofstra managed 24 in the first half, thanks in large part Ashunae Durant, who scored 15 points in the opening two quarters.

The Dragons would have no answer for Durant for the entire game, as she made big basket after big basket for the Pride. Durant finished the game with 25 points on an efficient 10-for-12 shooting from the floor.

Though Drexel didn’t have an answer for Durant on the defensive end, they began to get help offensively in the second half from senior Jessica Pellechio. Pellechio found her shot, scoring 13 points off three-for-four shooting from three-point range in the second half.

Despite Pellechio’s offensive outpouring, the Dragons weren’t able to get key stops down the stretch, and the last place Pride held on for a 58-53 victory.

Drexel’s most recent loss came at the hands of the Tribe. Despite having three players, Curran, Pellechio and freshman Bailey Greenberg, score double-digit points, Drexel was unable to string together a solid defensive effort. The Dragons allowed the Pride to shoot an astronomical 58.3 percent from the floor en route to their 75-64 win.

With the loss to William & Mary, Drexel fell to 20-9 on the season and 11-7 in CAA games. The Dragons finished as a marginally better home team than road team, with their record at the Daskalakis Athletic Center being 12-2, and their record away from Philadelphia being 8-7.

Unfortunately for the Dragons, there will be no home games in the CAA Tournament. Drexel will travel to Harrisonburg, Virginia, to take on Northeastern University in the CAA Tournament’s Quarterfinals March 9.

Despite their recent skid, the Dragons could still make a run for the CAA title. Against Northeastern this season, Drexel is 2-0 with an average margin of victory of 26.5 points.

However, assuming there are no upsets in the tournament, Drexel would have to face JMU in the semifinals and Elon University in the finals. While the Dragons were a combined 0-4 against Elon and JMU this season, none of those losses were by more than a 10-point margin.

It would certainly be tough to win both of those games, especially when you consider JMU is playing in its home arena, but this is as much talent and as deep of a team Drexel has had since its WNIT Championship run in 2013. We’ll just have to wait and see what the Dragons can do