PHILADELPHIA, PA. 12/1/2017 – The Drexel Dragons can be a good defensive team. There will be games when they need that, and it happened against the Lafayette Leopards. Drexel stifled the Lafayette offense, and by turning defense into offense, the hosts took a 52 – 37 win at the DAC.
“I said at halftime that if we let up on the defensive end this would have been Lafayette’s game,” said Drexel Coach Denise Dillon. “There is an identity and the team is becomming aware of how importnant it is to be on point defensively. Shots are not always going to fall. It will always come back to defense and the hustle plays.”
Drexel forced 29 Lafayette turnovers that resulted in a 23 – 12 advantage in points off turnovers. Freshman guard Hannah Nihill led the way for the Dragons with 6 steals, equaling her season total, of the team’s 20. Even though Drexel was out shot on a percentage basis, forcing Leopard miscues allowed the Dragons to have 23 more shots.
The game turned in the second quarter when Drexel won that period by a 17 – 3 margin, holding Lafayette without a point for the last 8:13 of the quarter. The scoreless streak lasted a total of 10 :09 until the Leopards scored just under two minutes into the third quarter.
Drexel started slow on offense, again. They have trailed after one quarter in five of their six games. In the decisive second stanza they got untracked behind guard Megan Marecic who 9 of the first 12 quarter points. The senior scored 14 points coming off a career-high 15 against Butler. She credits the ball movement to get open looks.
“We really tried to focus on getting it inside and let the zone collapse,” said Marecic. “That way you can get better shots outside.”
“Megan came ready to play again,” Dillon said. “We need that form our upperclassmen. It has to be contagious each and every day.”
“Megan knows her role on the floor and she is confident in taking her shots and we are getting her the ball and calling plays for her.”
Nihill set a career-mark with 13 points shooting 5 for 8 from the floor and 3 of 4 from beyond the arc. Bailey Greenberg and Aubree Brown stole the ball three times each. As a team Drexel went 18 for 66 from the floor (27.3%).
Natalie Kucowski led Lafayette with 7 points and a game-high 14 rebounds. Guard Drew Freeland also scored 7 points.
The Dragons snapped a three-game Leopards winning streak. Drexel (4 – 3) take to the road for the next four games. Delaware State is next up, then a trip to upstate New York to play Niagara and Syracuse. The Dragons upset the Orange last season at the DAC. The road trip ends with a city game at Saint Joseph’s.
Written By: Glenn Papazian