By Mel Greenberg
Drexel senior Gabriela Marginean made women's career scoring history in the Colonial Athletic Association at an appropriate place Thursday night at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.
The native of Romania connected on the first of a two-shot opportunity at the line courtesey of a technical foul on William & Mary with 6 minutes, 34 seconds left to play in the first half.
That enabled her to pass former James Madison star Tamera Young and become the CAA's all-time women's scorer.
Marginean's final points on the night, her 19th and 20th, came on a basket with 1.1 seconds left to finish off the Tribe (8-5, 1-1 CAA) and give Drexel a 46-43 victory and a 2-0 start as the defending conference champions. She also grabbed 10 rebounds.
Next up is a visit to Old Dominion Sunday in Norfolk, Va., where the Monarchs will be seeking revenge for Drexel's win in last season's CAA tournament semifinals that ended the Monarchs' 17 years of perfection in conference postseason competition.
Marginean, who last month became Drexel's all-time women's scorer and later reached the 2,000 milestone, now has 2,134 points, passing Young's previous mark of 2,121 points. At the end of the month, the Philadelphia Sportswriters' Association will honor her with their Amateur Athlete of the Year Award at their annual banquet across the Delaware River in Cherry Hill, N.J.
"I can't say how proud I am of what she's done in the four years and the way she's represented our program," Drexel coach Denise Dillon said. "To see she's at the top spot it's hard to comprehend. When all is said and done and she finishes, we'll recongize all the accomplishments she's had along the way.
"We've gone against some great players in this league and there have been some great ones before her and she's really made her mark," Dillon added.
"She certainly got the record at an appropriate place because she's been there enough," Dillon said.
Prior to Marginean's 7-for-8 from the line -- the one miss occurred after she set the record -- she came into the game with a career effort of 567-for637 on free throw attempts for a .890 success percentage.
"We need a balanced effort but when `Gabby scores in the '20s good things happen to the Drexel Dragons (8-5, 2-0 CAA)," Dillon said.
However, the night was not an entire delight, though the result left Drexel heading on the road in an upbeat mood.
Once again the Dragons squandered a big lead, this time after being ahead by 18 points early in the second half Drexel found itself clinging to a one-point advantage 44-43 after Taysha Pye's basket with 2:18 left in the game. She had a team-high 17 points for the Tribe.
However, as was the situation at home in Sunday's narrow win over then-No. 25 James Madison, Drexel was able to grab a key offensive rebound to maintain possession as the seconds were winding down.
"I wasn't pleased with our play in the second half," Dillon said. "I thought we went to sleep."
William & Mary was able to score 15 points on second-chance points compared to five for Drexel.
"I think we matched up pretty well with them, but they were more athletic," Marginean said. "Boxing out was crucial and we didn't do a very good job. I'm absolutely sure we're going to work real hard on it tomorrow and again on Saturday."
Dillon noted her players are outsized by most conference teams.
"If our players think we can just jump over other players, we're going to have problems," she said.
"We're a small team but it doesn't mean we can't do a better job rebounding."
She explained how the CAA has become more competitive.
"The teams are getting stronger every year and we have to take every game as if it's our last," Marginean said.
As for her own attack on the record books, she said, "It's a great honor and I appreciate my coaches and my teammates for making me a better player every year and at every practice. But it's them helping me."
Marginean is now 74 points of the overall school record by former men's star Michael Anderson (2,208 points-1988).
Big Five Hall of Famer and former Penn Star Diana Caramanico holds the women's city record with 2,415 career points, which is now 281 ahead of Marginean
Delle Donne's Double Double Helps Delaware Down George Mason
Blue Hens redshirt freshman sensation Elena Delle Donne helped Delaware (9-4, 1-1 CAA) to its first conference victory of the season a 53-44 win over George Mason (7-6, 0-2 CAA) in Fairfax, Va.
The former Ursuline Academy star and national high school player of the year out of Wilmington, Del., finished with 25 points and 11 rebounds for her fifth double double of the season.
McCollum Hits Career Grand
Former St. Basil's star Christine McCollum became the 20th women's player in Holy Family history as the Tigers beat Chestnut Hill College, 74-46, in a Central Collegiate Conference (CACC) game at Holy Family's campus center in Northeast Philadelphia.
Catherine Carr had a game-high 19 points as Holy Family (12-1, 5-0 CACC) won its 12th straight and notched its 59th straight regular season home contest. It also was the team’s 89th consecutive CACC regular season win, three away from tying the NCAA Division II record.
Aiesha Smith scored 16 points for the Griffins (2-10, 1-3).
McCollum recorded her 1,000th career point with 18:06 left in the contest. She hit the first of two foul shots to reach the milestone. She is the second Tiger to accomplish the feat this season. Carr hit 1,000 points in the season opener at Bentley.