Philadelphia, Pa. – Robert Morris women’s basketball outscored their hosts 16-11 in the fourth quarter, but the comeback was not enough as the Colonials lost 57-44 Friday in the first round of the 2018 Postseason Women’s National Invitation Tournament to the Drexel University Dragons at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.
RMU (25-8, 16-2 Northeast Conference) held a slim 8-6 advantage at the 4:32 mark of the opening frame. Drexel hit their stride after a layup in the paint by sophomore guard Aubree Brown at 4:16 and assembled a 13-2 run to wrap up the first ten minutes.
The Dragons (27-7, 16-2 Colonial Athletic Association) added an 8-0 run in the second to build a prominent 33-17 margin going into half-time. The Navy Blue and Gold continued to take charge of the box score with a 46-28 lead to conclude the third before the Colonials surge in the fourth.
Drexel’s Bailey Greenberg, a sophomore forward, contributed 10 of her 14 total points in the first half while senior forward Kelsi Lidge recorded four of her team-leading six rebounds and eight of her 10 points in the second half.
Robert Morris head coach Charlie Buscaglia talked about his team’s efforts on the program’s web page, “We were fighting and close to cutting it to single digits. There was no quit in us and a lot of minutes on the floor with (Jocelynne Jones) not playing today with her thumb injury. Drexel was pressing and playing the entire time, they didn’t lay down. We kept getting better with our fight and passion, and at the end of the day I was proud of that.”
Smith departs as one of four players who claimed 1,000 points, 500 rebounds, and 200 assists over her career. She holds the team record for career starts at 126 and is fifth in games played with 127. The 6-foot-1 forward from Barrie, Ontario led her teammates with nine points against Drexel.
Mulrain had two blocked shots to become the All-time Colonials leader in blocks with 171. The 6-3 center who came to Moon Township from Brampton, Ontario is RMU’s career leader in games played at 130. She and sophomore center Nneka Ezeigbo contributed six rebounds apiece against the Dragons.
Despite her recent thumb injury, Jones is second in games played with 129. The 6-foot forward hailing from Sicklerville, New Jersey had a career-high 21 points Sunday, March 11 in the NEC Championship loss to the Saint Francis Red Flash.
Dashiell owned a .786 career free throw completion percentage, and the Salisbury, Maryland native tied the single-season mark of 33 games played during the 2016-2017 season.
Buscaglia commented about his seniors, “I’ve got some seniors in there that I’m really proud of. They worked really hard – not just when they scored a lot of points – but every day at practice. This group was great at coming to work every day and wanting to get better. When you lose – which happens to about everybody – the people I want are the ones that work the next day and don’t get selfish. They were great at responding, and to me that means everything.”
Stat Line Of The Game: Drexel pressured 22 turnovers from Robert Morris while committing just 12 of their own. They reaped 13 points from RMU’s miscues. It marked the 13th time during the 2017-2018 campaign a Dragons opponent turned the ball over at least 20 times.
RMU Musket Shots: Two items from the score sheet. The Colonials delivered a 73.7 completion percentage on free throws to Drexel’s 56.3 percent. The Robert Morris reserves edged the DU backups in points off the bench, 14-10.
Hannah Nihill, a freshman starting guard, registered 10 points and three steals while Brown totaled eight points for the Dragons. Head coach Denise Dillon’s crew came through with 25 second-chance points to RMU’s seven. Drexel owned a 22-18 advantage on points in the paint.
Followers of the Dragons see their squad back in action, Sunday, March 18 at 4:00 p.m. when Drexel hosts the Fordham University Rams (23-9, 12-4 Atlantic 10). Every drive to the basket in this second round matchup of the Postseason WNIT is on Game Central.
From The Clipboard: Robert Morris set a school-record of 25 wins during the 2017-18 campaign. Friday night’s contest was the Colonials’ sixth postseason tournament appearance in the last nine seasons…RMU put up 2033 points in the regular season to their opponents’ 1785. They had a +7.5 scoring margin in 2017-2018.