PHILADELPHIA - Hollie Mershon scored a career-high 26 points as the Drexel women's basketball team got its season underway on Friday night, but that was exactly half of the Dragons' offensive output as they fell in their opener, 60-52 to Long Island. The loss drops the Dragons into the consolation bracket of the Preseason WNIT.
It was a slow start for the Dragons' offense, as Drexel (0-1) hit just 4-of-23 from the field in the first half as they slumped to a 27-12 halftime deficit. Drexel never led in the contest, and after a pair of Tyler Hale free throws tied the game at 2-2 with 17:52 to play in the first half, Long Island (1-0) did not trail.
Drexel's problems on the offensive end were compounded by their struggles on the glass early on, where they were outrebounded 24-12 in the first half. Long Island collected 11 offensive boards in the game, nine of which came in the first period. The Blackbirds' Ebony Davis, a junior college transfer playing her first game with Long Island, had 11 points and 10 rebounds by the intermission. She finished with 18 points and 17 rebounds.
The second half saw Drexel come out playing sharper and more determined down low. Outrebounding LIU 20-13 in the period, the Dragons clawed their way back into the game, cutting the deficit as low as seven points when Mershon sunk both free throws with 3:11 to play. Although they got back to a seven-point margin three more times, they could not cut any closer than that, as the Blackbirds had an answer every time.
There were bright spots for Drexel, including Mershon's 26 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals and a block. The junior came on strong in the second half of last season when she was inserted into the starting lineup, setting her previous career high of 23 points against Old Dominion in the regular season finale last March 2.
Also impressive was Nicole Jones, who totaled six points and four rebounds in her first outing with the Dragons after transferring from UMass. The junior from Rochester, N.Y. played 18 minutes off the bench, helping out with two of the team's five blocks.
With the loss, the Dragons will now wait a week for their next contest, to be played next Friday. The time, location and opponent are still to be determined, with information expected to be sent out by the WNIT on Saturday. Drexel will conclude play in this year's Preseason WNIT on Saturday.