Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Drexel Women's Basketball Suffers First Home Loss, 66-60, vs. James Madison

Philadelphia - Sophomore forward Taylor Wootton scored a career-high 18 points but it was not enough to bring the Dragons (12-7, 4-4) from behind against James Madison (14-6, 7-1) in a 66-60 loss.

Drexel Women's Basketball Suffers First Home Loss, 66-60, vs. James Madison

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Philadelphia - Sophomore forward Taylor Wootton scored a career-high 18 points but it was not enough to bring the Dragons (12-7, 4-4) from behind against James Madison (14-6, 7-1) in a 66-60 loss. The setback was Drexel's first loss at the Daskalakis Athletic Center this season, snapping an eight-game home winning streak. Lauren Jimenez scored 19 points for the Dukes and the NCAA's leading scorer, Dawn Evans added 18 in the winning effort. The Dragons trimmed a 10-point deficit down to two with 2:12 to play but could not come up with a go-ahead shot from that point. The Dukes made 8-of-12 free-throws in the final two minutes to seal the victory.

Turnovers and rebounding proved to be the Dragons' undoing in the loss. Drexel coughed the ball up 15 times and the Dukes scored 18 points as a result of the miscues. While the Dukes only edged Drexel 36-34 on the boards, James Madison's 13 offensive rebounds generated 18 second-chance points.

Kamile Nacickaite put in 16 points for the Dragons, but they came on 7-for-18 shooting from the floor. The team's second leading scorer, Jasmina Rosseel, was limited to five points on 2-for-12 shooting after taking a shot to the eye and briefly exiting the game in the first half.

Overall the Dragons shot 41.9 percent in the contest, led by Wootton's 9-for-14 performance from the field. They were limited to just three three-pointers in the game, which was the lowest total of the season for the league's leading three-point shooting team. The Dukes shot 42.3 percent from the floor and 4-for-16 from deep with Evans making 3-of-8 from long range.

James Madison led by three at half but the Dragons briefly pulled ahead in the opening minutes of the second period on a pair of layups by Nacickaite. The Dukes would quickly reclaim their advantage and build a 10-point lead by pounding the ball inside to Jimenez for a pair of layups to make it a 50-40 game at the 7:58 mark.

It appeared that the Dragons were going to reel in another opponent at home when Rosseel knocked down her only three-pointer of the game just in front of the Drexel bench to make it a 52-49 game with four and a half to play.

A steady diet of Jimenez in the post resulted in a layup and four free-throws on the next three possessions, to keep the Dragons at arm's length. Hollie Mershon would slice the lead to 58-56 with 2:12 on the clock when she dribbled her defender into a screen from Wootton and knocked down a three-pointer.

But on the Dukes' end of the court, a good defensive stand by Drexel was wasted when Courtney Hamner pulled down an offensive rebound and was fouled in the scramble for the loose ball. Hamner converted two free-throws with her team in the double bonus to make it a four-point lead.

With the game hanging in the balance, Drexel went to Nacickaite on a drive in the lane. As she backed her way in and spun toward the basket she stumbled over a defender while tossing up a layup attempt that fell short as she tumbled to the ground.

The failed scoring opportunity allowed the Dukes to put a strangle hold on the victory from the free throw line.

The loss curtailed Drexel's attempt at matching its longest home court winning streak, nine games, and dropped the team to an even 4-4 in CAA play. A loss by Delaware leaves Drexel locked in a tie for fifth place in the CAA standings, two games behind Virginia Commonwealth (11-7, 6-2) who the Dragons will face in Richmond on Saturday.

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