Dragons Heat Up Behind Mershon, 64-51
Courtesy: UNCW Athletic Communications
WILMINGTON, North Carolina - Led by senior sharpshooter Hollie Mershon, Colonial Athletic Association co-leader Drexel used its long distance prowess to down host UNCW, 64-51, in a women's basketball tilt Sunday at Trask Coliseum.
The Dragons won their third in a row to improve to 10-4 overall and remain unbeaten at 3-0 in the CAA with the road win. UNCW, playing its fourth home game in five outings, fell to 2-12 and 1-2.
Mershon poured in a season-high 26 points to lead all scorers on the day. The 5-10 shooter matched her season high and scored the most points by an opponent this season against the Seahawks, connecting on 10-of-14 from the floor, including 6-of-8 behind the arc. Senior forward Nicki Jones also contributed 12 points and five rebounds for Denise Dillon's club.
Drexel wound up connecting on 9-of-23 from three-point range, with Mershon hitting several of her six trifectas at critical junctures in the contest.
Senior forward Karneshia Garrett was the lone player in double digits for UNCW with 11 points, while senior forward Chelsea McGowen added five points and a team-high 11 rebounds.
Drexel stretched a 33-26 halftime lead to 38-28 early in the second half before the Seahawks cut into the margin. Junior guard Jessica Freeman connected on a baby jumper in the paint to help UNCW close within 38-34 at 16:39.
But Drexel freshman guard Meghan Creighton strung together four points to jumpstart a 10-2 run to give the Dragons some breathing room. Jones later scored back-to-back buckets to close out the spurt and her basket in the paint at 11:23 put Drexel out front, 48-36, at 11:23.
A long trey by Freeman on the right side chopped the deficit to six points, 53-47, with just over five minutes remaining, but Mershon sank her sixth three-pointer of the contest and added a layup on the left side to begin an 11-1 rally that stalled UNCW's comeback bid.
Drexel posted its largest lead of the game with one minute remaining when Renee Johnson-Allen made a pair of free throws to make the score 64-59.
It was all Mershon in the first half as the senior from Malvern, Pa., went 5-of-7 from the field and 4-of-6 from deep for 14 points to give the Dragons a 33-26 lead at intermission.
Drexel shot 53.8 percent in the opening period, including 5-of-10 from long distance, to take a seven-point advantage into the final period.
Both teams opened the contest 1-of-5 from the floor before the Dragons built a working margin behind the play of Mershon and Fiona Flanagan. Trailing 8-6, Drexel took the lead on a triple by Mershon at 13:46 and the senior shooter's third trifecta of the half staked the Dragons to a 24-16 advantage at 7:26.
The Seahawks wrap up a two-game homestand on Thursday (Jan. 17) with a 7 p.m. matchup against Old Dominion at Trask Coliseum. The Dragons return to Philadelphia to entertain Hofstra on Thursday at 7 p.m.
GAME NOTES: The Seahawks donned new teal-colored shoes for the conference battle...Drexel owns an 11-8 advantage in the series, including two straight over UNCW...The Seahawks are 1-5 at home this year...Drexel won the rebounding battle, 32-30...UNCW's last lead in the game came with 14:49 left in the first half...UNCW's three starting guards went a combined 5-of-21 from the field...Freeman and Tawanna Lee each added nine points...Drexel finished with just five turnovers...McGowen played 35 minutes without a turnover...Flanagan led all players with four assists...Drexel attempted 15 more field goals than UNCW.