Women’s basketball snaps 12-game win streak at W&M

Originally Posted on The Triangle via UWIRE

Sophomore Hannah Nihill (12) drives to the rim in a game against the College of William & Mary March 1. This 77-72 loss snapped their 12-game win streak, but they came back in the next game on senior night with a win against Elon University March 3 (Photograph courtesy of Isabella Mancini for The Triangle).

A heartbreaking triple-overtime loss snapped the Drexel University women’s basketball team’s 12-game winning streak, as the Dragons fell to the College of William & Mary Tribe 77-72, March 1. The team rebounded with a win on senior night, dispatching the Elon University Phoenix 68-45, March 3.

The game against William & Mary was tight throughout. In the first, the Dragons jumped ahead due to and-ones from freshman Keishanna Washington and junior Aubree Brown. Junior Hannah Nihill added a three put the Dragons up 19-13. In the second, the Drexel offense sputtered, and freshman Eva Hodgson posted seven points to put the Tribe up 29-26.

Brown got the lead back for the Dragons in the third, scoring eight points in the quarter. But threes by William & Mary’s Hodgson and senior Misha Jones kept the Tribe in striking distance. In the fourth, the Dragons found themselves down six after a 12-2 run by the Tribe. Senior Bianca Boggs had seven points on the run, including a three.

The comeback attempt was led by junior Niki Metzel, who hit a jumper to make it 55-51. Metzel was huge for the Dragons in crunch time. Metzel posted a career-high 21 in the game, with 12 of those coming in the fourth quarter and overtime, while also racking up eight boards.

The Dragons then began a full-court press to try and get the ball back. After a Drexel turnover, Brown and William & Mary junior Victoria Reynolds pushed each other a bit. The referee issued a warning and at this point, a fan sitting on the sideline wearing dark-rimmed glasses yelled to Reynolds, the inbounder, “you are going to turn it over, everybody knows you are going to turn it over.”

Reynolds got the ball back off the inbound and tried to pass up court but was intercepted by Metzel, fulfilling the prophecy. Metzel took the swipe the distance to make it 55-53. The team then traded layups, and Metzel hit a clutch pair at the line to knot it up at 57. William & Mary had a chance to take the lead on their final possession, but Drexel drew a charge with 9.1 seconds to go, giving the Dragons a chance to walk it off. Brown got the ball and drove, but couldn’t finish through the contact, sending the game to overtime.

Drexel fell behind quick in the first overtime. Boggs scored a layup and a jumper to give the Tribe a four-point lead. Boggs scored 14 of the Tribe’s 20 total overtime points. Metzel got a much-needed bucket for the Dragons, hitting a baseline jay, but Boggs would add another two free throws to make it 63-59. Washington drilled a crucial bucket, and the press forced a Tribe turnover again, giving the Dragons a chance to tie with 13 seconds to go. Metzel grabbed an offensive board and was fouled. Metzel nailed both the critical freebies again, but the Tribe still had a chance to go ahead. Boggs drove, traveled — which was ignored by the referees — and kicked out to Jones who missed the three. The score stood at 63-63.

In the second overtime, junior Bailey Greenberg hit a jumper and sank a free throw to give Drexel the 66-63 lead. The Tribe didn’t make a single basket in the period, but Boggs drew three fouls and went 5-6 from the stripe to knot the game up at 68. The Tribe had another chance to win it, with six seconds left after a steal by Boggs, but a corner three from Jones rimmed out.

Drexel’s offensive woes continued in the third extra period. The Dragons got off to a good start with a bucket from Ana Ferariu, but it would be their only field goal in the quarter. The team shot a poor 1-9 (11.1 percent) from the field, including 0-6 from three. The team hadn’t sunk a three since the second quarter at this point, and in overtime went a combined 0-10 from beyond the arc.

The Tribe would go on a 9-2 run to close out the game. A layup by Boggs gave the Tribe the lead and another by Harper Birdsong increased it. From there William & Mary sank free throws to ice the game.

Boggs led the game with her season-high 32 points on 11-14 shooting. Greenberg scored 24 points for the Dragons, while grabbing eight rebounds and eight steals. Drexel had one of their worst shooting performances of the season, shooting 28-83 (33.7 percent), with a dreadful 2-28 (7.1 percent) from beyond the arc. The Tribe faired better, going 28-52 (53.8 percent) overall and 6-19 (31.6 percent) from deep.

On senior day, Drexel got back in the win column against the reigning CAA champions, the Elon University Phoenix. A 7-0 run kicked off the game for Drexel, highlighted by a three from senior Eline Maesschalck. Drexel kept up the pressure and sophomore Kayla Bacon hit a jumper at the buzzer to make it 16-8.

In the second quarter, Drexel would widen their lead with another large run. The 14-2 outburst was started by a Bacon layup, followed by a three from Nihill and four points from Greenberg. The Drexel defense held strong also, allowing only seven Elon points in the quarter.

The strong defense carried into the second half. A turnover by Elon’s Lexi Mercer led to another three from Maesschalck. Brown dished to Greenberg for another basket in the paint. Nihil added another three, then swiped the ball from Brie Perpignan and went the distance for the layup. Later in the quarter, freshman Maura Hendrixson would add a pair of threes and push the Drexel lead to 29.

The stagnant Elon offense came alive in the fourth, but the damage was already done. Despite putting up 20 points in the fourth quarter (more than the team scored in the entire first half), the Phoenix would never get within 20 points of the Drexel lead.

Greenberg led all scorers with 18 points on 7-10 shooting. For Elon, Perpignan was the only player to reach double digits, posting 10 points. Drexel shot much better than they did against the Tribe, especially from three. The Dragons went 25-55 (45.5 percent) on the day, with 8-19 (42.1 percent) from deep. Elon struggled from the floor, shooting 17-46 (37 percent), while failing to make a three all day, going 0-5.

The Dragons will go back up on the road this weekend to wrap up the regular season. Drexel has been fantastic on the road and is currently on a 14-road-game winning streak, the longest in the nation.

The team traveled to Virginia to take on the James Madison University Dukes March 7. JMU is ranked first in the CAA and held their standing, beating the Dragons 58-47.

The Dragons will now go to Maryland to faceoff with the Towson University Tigers March 9 at 2 p.m. The Dukes are the top team in the CAA this season, sporting a 15-1 record in conference play. James Madison defeated the Dragons 51-35 back Jan. 6. Towson is currently third in the conference, right behind the Dragons. Drexel will look to avenge a 55-54 loss at the hands of the Tigers from Jan. 4.

Read more here: https://www.thetriangle.org/sports/womens-basketball-snaps-12-game-win-streak-at-wm/
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