Nacickaite Leads Drexel Women Past Tribe 80-75 in OT

Philadelphia - Kamile Nacickaite scored six of her game-high 25 points in overtime to bring Drexel (15-10, 7-7 CAA) back from a four-point deficit in the extra stanza in a thrilling 80-74 victory over William & Mary (2-22, 1-13 CAA). Nacickaite knocked down 4-of-4 from the free-throw line in the final three minutes of overtime. Jasmina Rosseel scored 22 points and hit a three-pointer with 2:18 left in overtime to give the Dragons a lead they would not relinquish. Tyler Hale contributed an 11-point, 10-rebound double-double. Taylor Hilton led the Tribe with 22 points, including 4-for-4 shooting from deep. The Dragons are now 11-1 on their home court.

Katy Oblinger hit a three-pointer from 14-feet beyond the three-point line as time expired in regulation to dissipate the remains of what had been a 12-point Drexel lead in the second half and send the game into overtime.

The long three was representative of a contest in which the Tribe seemed to make nearly every long-distance offering they put up. Katherine DeHenzel and Taylor Hilton combined to shooting 14-for-21 from the floor and 7-for-8 from deep. Oblinger was just 2-for-6 from three-point range, but her first three of the night was the biggest for the Tribe. As at team, William & Mary made exactly half of their 54 field goal attempts and also knocked down 10-of-20 from deep, which was the most three-point field goals surrendered by the Dragons this season.

In the extra period it was more Oblinger to start the scoring, as the guard drilled another three from the top of the arc to put her team on top. Drexel responded with a pair of Hollie Mershon free throws and Hilton answered for the Tribe with a three from the corner. Hilton's fourth trey of the game put William & Mary ahead by four points, 72-68, with hot hands and 3:31 to play.

Drexel chipped away with two more free throws by Nacickaite and took the lead on a three-pointer by Rosseel that was the result of a scramble for a lose ball under the basket. Rosseel's open trifecta gave Drexel a 73-72 lead, its first of the overtime and one it would not concede.

Nacickaite followed the bucket with a fade-away jumper in the lane and seconds later hustle defensive play by Tyler Hale resulted in a tipped pass and a steal with 1:17 to play. Hale would come up with a key offensive rebound with 55 seconds left which also secured her fourth double-double of the season. 

Nacickaite and Hale combined to knock down 3-of-4 from the line in the last 12 seconds to lock in the Dragons' 11th home victory of the season.

Drexel shot 41.7 percent in the game and made 10-of-22 from three-point range led by Rosseel's 6-for-11 shooting night. Drexel outworked the Tribe on the boards 35-27 and pulled down 16 offensive rebounds, led by six from Tyler Hale. Hollie Mershon had another solid all-around game with 10 points, seven rebounds, a team-leading five assists to go with a steal and a block.

DeHenzel and Hilton led a late-game comeback by the Tribe in the final four minutes. Hilton's third three-pointer of the game, coming at the 2:12 mark, gave William & Mary its first lead in the contest since the opening minutes of play. The shot put the Tribe ahead 63-62 and sent the Dragons reeling.

Drexel turned the ball over twice in the next two minutes on a shot clock violation and an errant kick-out pass that rolled the length of the court before being touched up for a back-court violation.

Fortunately the Dragons' defense came up with the critical stops it had been searching for all night. Taysha Pye, the Tribe's best one-on-one player, squared up Taylor Wootton for a drive to the right side, but as Wootton shuffled to her left, shadowing her mark, Pye dribbled the ball off her foot and Wootton came up with the lose ball.

Seconds later after a pair of turnovers under the William & Mary basket for each team, Nacickaite would pull down a rebound off a missed layup by Pye and draw a foul on the other end of the court while driving to the basket. She made both shots to give the Dragons a one-point lead, 64-63 with 14 seconds to play.

The Tribe put the ball in the hands of Pye once again and with the clock winding down, the junior guard spun down the right side of the lane and appeared to have a clear path to the basket. Ayana Lee read the play and slid across the lane to help on defense just as Pye launched herself at the basket. The collision drew a whistle and the signal was an offensive foul, sending the Drexel bench and the more than 1,200 fans in attendance into a frenzy.

Lee looked to be the hero of the contest as she exited the game with six seconds to play. William & Mary fouled Nacickaite to stop the clock and she converted both shots from the line to put Drexel on top by three, seemingly clinching the victory. 

That was, until Oblinger sprinted up the court to hit her equalizing three-pointer at the buzzer.

The Dragons are now 2-1 in overtime contests this season. Drexel's 80 points in the most the Dragons have scored since the first game of the season, an 86-55 triumph over La Salle. The team is now one win shy of matching its all-time record for home victories with home games against Virginia Commonwealth and Old Dominion remaining on the slate. 

Nacickaite shot 12-for-15 from the free-throw line in the game to match her career record from the stripe. As a team the Dragons made 20-of-26 from the line and 9-for-10 in overtime.

Drexel completes its three-game homestand this Sunday when the Dragons host the Rams of Virginia Commonwealth in a 1:00 p.m. contest.