January 18, 2013 by Brian Palmer
Drexel’s women’s basketball team continues to find success in the Colonial Athletic Association, as they defeated the University of North Carolina Wilmington 64-51 for their third consecutive victory. This marks the first time since the 2007 season that the women’s team has started 3-0 in the conference.
Coming off a thrilling last-minute victory Jan. 10 at James Madison University, the Dragons traveled to North Carolina to face the 3-11 Seahawks.
Senior Hollie Mershon led the charge once again for the Dragons, pouring in 26 points. After the Dragons went up 9-8 thanks to a Mershon three-pointer, the Dragons never let go of the lead. Fellow seniors Nicki Jones and Taylor Wootton also contributed to the team’s performance with 12 and eight points, respectively. Despite the Dragons obtaining a 28-20 lead, UNCW continued to fight hard and did not go down easily.
“They are one of those teams while they don’t look good on paper, and as a coach you are worried about it because they are going to fight hard,” Drexel head coach Denise Dillon said of UNCW.
UNCW did just that, and with four minutes remaining they clawed back within four. However, Dillon’s team responded to the challenge and continued to play well on both ends of the court to stave off a late UNCW comeback. In the game, junior Fiona Flanagan added eight points and four assists while senior Renee Johnson-Allen added a career-high eight assists to go along with six points.
“She handles it very well. She wants the role of leading the team and doing whatever is necessary to win,” Dillon said.
The next test came Jan. 17 against Hofstra University at the Daskalakis Athletic Center. Both schools entered the game with a perfect 3-0 mark in conference play. Hofstra had won its last three meetings against Drexel, and this was a match Dillon predicted would be a test for her team.
“The Hofstra game is a huge game. It’s a team we have struggled against in the past couple of years. We have to do our best to control the game, and we should come out well,” Dillon said.
The Pride came to play and piled up a 15-point lead on Drexel. However, Dillon’s team held strong and overcame the deficit thanks to a second-half fury led by Wootton, Jones, Johnson-Allen and Flanagan.
In the first half, the Dragons couldn’t buy a basket. They shot 26 percent from the field and 11 percent from the three-point line. Drexel’s poor shooting and Hofstra’s all-around strong play led to the Dragons being down 31-16 at the half.
The second half was a completely different story for the Dragons. They came out firing on all cylinders. Wootton, who had 24 points in the game, scored 16 of those points in the second half. Flanagan scored all 10 of her points in the second half and hit back-to-back three-pointers to pull Drexel ahead by one with less that four minutes remaining. Jones was a force throughout the game with 10 points, six rebounds, five assists and two blocks. This was a total team effort from the Dragons despite an off night by Mershon. This game was crucial for the Dragons because it put them into sole possession of first place in the CAA at 4-0. The Dragons will now look to start 5-0 in conference play for the second time in school history when they visit The College of William & Mary Jan. 20.