Philadelphia - Senior Jasmina Rosseel poured in a career-high 26 points, all of them coming in the second half, to lead Drexel to a 69-57 victory over the Hofstra Pride (11-7, 3-4). Tyler Hale pulled down a career-best 15 rebounds coupled with 11 points for her second double-double of the season as the Dragons (12-6, 4-3) out-worked Hofstra on the boards 55-25 to improve to 8-0 at the DAC this season.
Kamile Nacickaite handled the offense for Drexel in the first half, scoring 17 of her 19 points in the opening stanza to go along with eight rebounds. Ayana Lee hauled in a career-high eight rebounds and Hollie Mershon chipped in seven boards to the team's best rebounding effort of the season.
The Dragons were held without a three-pointer in the first half and made just four in the game, all courtesy of Rosseel. Drexel held a 32-20 lead at the break and expanded that advantage to as much as 18 points in the second half.
While the Hofstra shot just 31 percent from the floor, it was able to hang in the game until the end thanks to 21 Drexel turnovers, which the Pride exchanged for 24 points. Hofstra also shot 20 free-throws in the second half, as the Dragons were whistled for fouls numerous times down the stretch. Nicole Capurso led Hofstra with 16 points coming off the bench. But the Dragons did well to bottle up Shante Evans, who ranks among the CAA's top five in scoring in rebounding, holding the All-CAA forward to 12 points and six rebounds.
Drexel's defense held Hofstra off the board for the first six minutes and 21 seconds of the game and used a 16-4 run midway through the half to open a 22-9 lead with five minutes to play. Hale energized the team in the opening minutes by pulling down nearly every rebound in her reach and helping to hold Evans to five points and two rebounds at halftime. In addition to her double-double Hale handed out four assists, blocked two shots and had a steal in one of the best all-around efforts of the season for Drexel.
The Dragons shot 46.4 percent in the opening half and held Hofstra to just 8-for-28 from the floor. Drexel was outrebounding the Pride 26-12 at the break, led by Hale's eight and Nacickaite's six.
The Pride came out of the locker room with intensity in the second half, scoring the first seven points in the period and cutting the Dragons' lead to just five, 32-27 in the first two and a half minutes. Head Coach Denise Dillon called a timeout and regrouped her team.
Roseel hit a pull-up jumper in the lane for her first points of the game at the 14:11 mark in the half. The bucket keyed a run for Drexel that allowed the team to take a comfortable 47-33 lead on a baseline jumper by Taylor Wootton with 9:24 to play.
Rosseel lost her defender on back-to-back possessions to drill three-pointers and help the Dragons' lead grow to 18 points over the next two minutes.
Hofstra struggled to find shots, going more than six minutes without a field goal, but the Pride capitalized from the line during that stretch, making 8-of-11 free throws and trimming the Dragons' lead to 12 points with 4:36 to play.
Again Rosseel answered the challenge, this time swishing a three-pointer from the left wing with her defender bearing down. As the shot fell, Hofstra was whistled for a foul, which allowed Rosseel to convert a four-point play to put Drexel on top 59-43 with 4:17 to go.
Hofstra would go to the line seven more times in the last four minutes of the game, grinding play to a halt and allowing the Pride to get into a full court trap after each set of made free throws. A three-point conversion by Capurso at the 51-second mark got the Dragons down to their smallest margin since the opening minutes of the period. But Rosseel took care of the ball for Drexel in the last minute and converted four straight from the line to give the team their final margin of victory.
The win was Drexel's 33rd over Hofstra all-time in one of the team's most contested series since becoming an NCAA Div. I program. The Dragons will look to match the program's best home winning streak, nine straight, this Thursday when they host the CAA leading James Madison Dukes at 7:00 p.m.