Colonials season ends in Philadelphia after loss in WNIT
The Colonials battled the Drexel Dragons in the opening round of the WNIT at the Daskalakis Athletic Center in Philadelphia, Pa. Both teams looked to extend their seasons and move on in the postseason.
On paper, both teams looked to be identical as they both had similar overall records, RMU 25-7, Drexel 26-7 heading into the game. Both teams also won their respective conference regular season championship as the Dragons won the CAA and the Colonials co-shared the NEC regular season championship.
However the Colonials were unable to move on in the WNIT as the Dragons walked away with the win, 57-44.
The Colonials were missing an important piece of their team in Friday’s game as Jocelynne Jones suffered an injury leading up to the game and couldn’t play. Jones led the Colonials in the NEC Championship Game against Saint Francis scoring a career-high 21 points.
With the absence of one from the starting five, the Colonials had a younger team on the court early.
“We got behind, we turned the ball over a bunch, we didn’t have any experience at all in the one, two, and three, so everybody was a freshman and they (Drexel) got a lot of student athletes out there that have a lot of experience in what they do, so they turned us over by doing a great job at pressuring and we were really young early on so I had to talk to them about where they were going wrong, were we were following into their trap and how we could get out of it,” Buscaglia said.
As for the adjustments the Colonials had to make after the first half, Buscaglia was pleased with his team’s effort.
“I thought we responded really well. I think we cut our turnovers in less than half in the second half so I thought the adjustments were good and they responded well,” said Buscaglia.
Both teams played a competitive opening quarter, finding themselves knotted up at 8 but towards the end of the first quarter, Drexel found the basket from long range. The Dragons hit four three-point shots in the opening quarter as Aubree Brown led the Dragons with 8 first quarter points connecting on two of her three-point shot attempts.
Drexel kept their foot on the gas pedal in the second quarter as the Dragons kept finding open spots along the perimeter and taking advantage, hitting a total of six in the opening half. In the second half, Drexel pushed their lead to double-digits taking a 33-17 lead into the locker room at halftime. Bailey Greenberg led all scorers with 10 first half points as she hit four baskets from the field, two of them being from downtown.
Seniors Megan Smith and freshman Laura Carrasco led the Colonials with 5 points apiece in the first 20 minutes of play.
Also, with a block in the opening half, senior Mikalah Mulrain became the program’s all-time leader in blocks with 170.
In the second half, Drexel kept their momentum from the first half, eventually pushing their lead to twenty points in the third quarter as the Dragons held a 44-20 lead halfway through the third quarter.
The Dragons kept making it difficult for Robert Morris to find the basket as no Colonial was able to score more than 10 points.
Despite being down by double-digits throughout the second half, a characteristic of the Colonials was seen, their heart and dedication.
“Before the game, we weren’t looking for excuses,” said Buscaglia. We were saying, we always say, open hands with a full heart and that exactly is what we were talking about and forty minutes is the game, not the first ten or twenty and I was proud of them how they responded because adversity set in. We could have let that get out of control and then we were right back in there continuing to fight,” Buscaglia added.
Megan Smith led the Colonials with 9 points. The Colonials shot 37 percent from the field and only made two three-point shots out of their 14 shots attempted from downtown.