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WBB WNIT Elite Eight

March 29, 2013

Senior guard Renee Johnson-Allen led the Dragons in rebounding against Bowling Green.

Senior Hollie Mershon scored the final nine points of the game to help the Dragons hold off Bowling Green and advance to the Elite Eight of the Women’s National Invitation Tournament with a 50-47 win over the Falcons. Mershon’s 19 points led the team to its 25th win of the season, which is a new program record. The Dragons will travel to play at Auburn on Saturday, March 30 in the quarterfinals of the tournament.

In front of a crowd of 1,571 at Bowling Green’s Stroh Center, Drexel jumped out to a 12-4 lead to open the game. The Falcons responded with a 14-0 run of their own, and held a 25-23 lead at halftime after hitting a last-second shot before the break.

The Dragons pulled out to a lead again in the second half and built it to a 37-31 advantage by the midpoint in the period before the offense stalled.  Bowling Green grabbed a 41-38 lead with 4:50 in the game, but freshman Rachel Pearson responded for the Dragons with a game-tying three-pointer.

Bowling Green briefly took back the lead at 43-41 before Mershon took over the game. She converted a three-point play after being fouled on a drive to the basket. Minutes later she answered a Bowling Green bucket with one of her own before knocking down four straight free throws in the final 20 seconds of the game to keep Drexel on top for the win.

Senior Renee Johnson-Allen turned in another gritty performance, pulling down team-high eight rebounds, including four offensive boards to go with six points and a steal. Her classmate Taylor Wootton added 10 points and five boards, while Pearson chipped in nine crucial points on three three-pointers coming off the bench.

The victory put Drexel in line to face a 19-14 Auburn Tigers team in Alabama on Saturday night at 7 p.m. (EST). In addition to setting the women’s basketball record for wins, this is also the first time that any Drexel team has won three postseason games.

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Mike Tuberosa