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Courtesy: CAA/Rafael Suanes

Drexel Holds Off VCU, 65-61

Courtesy: CAA
          Release: 03/09/2012
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UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (March 9, 2012) - Third-seeded Drexel held off a furious VCU rally and recorded a 65-61 victory over the sixth-seeded Rams in the final quarterfinal game of the Virginia 529 CAA Women's Basketball Championship Friday night at The Show Place Arena.

The Dragons (17-12) advance to Saturday's semifinals against second-seeded James Madison at 2:30 p.m. It will be Drexel's first trip to the semifinals since 2009 when it won the CAA title. VCU dropped to 17-14 after the setback.

Senior All-CAA forward Kamile Nacickaite led four Drexel players in double figures with 25 points. Junior Hollie Mershon poured in 13 points, senior Tyler Hale added 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds, and junior Taylor Wootton chipped in 10 points.

VCU got a team-high 19 points from senior Andrea Barbour, 18 of which came in the second half. Senior Courtney Hurt recorded her 20th double-double of the season with 18 points and a game-high 12 rebounds and also became the sixth player in CAA history to go over 2,000 points (2,017) for her career. Junior Robyn Hobson added 13 points for the Rams and Robyn Parks scored 10 off the bench.

VCU trailed by 18 at the half and was still down 53-40 with 2:28 remaining before beginning their dramatic comeback. The Rams scored eight consecutive points and closed within 53-48 on a Barbour jumper with 1:04 to go. Drexel pushed the margin back to eight on a pair of Hale free throws with 35 seconds left, but VCU continued to battle and trimmed the gap to 63-61 on a Barbour three-pointer with 1.1 seconds left. Nacickaite hit two free throws with a second to go to seal the victory for the Dragons.

Drexel took control of the game early, outscoring VCU 20-4 over the final 13 minutes of the first half to take a 30-12 lead into the break. The Rams trailed just 10-8 on a Hurt jumper with 13:06 to go before the Dragons reeled off 15 consecutive points. Nacickaite, who had 10 first-half points, started the surge with a jumper and closed it by draining a three-pointer that put Drexel ahead 25-8 with 5:31 remaining in the period. Ayana Lee also had five points during the surge.

VCU, which shot just 19% from the floor in the first half, made only one field goal over the final 13 minutes of the period. The 12 points tied a CAA Tournament record for fewest in a half. The Rams bounced back to shoot 37.7% for the game after making half (16-of-32) of their second-half field goal attempts.

Drexel shot 59.1% in the opening half and 47.5% for the game. The Dragons also shot 77.4% from the free throw line, including 22-of-28 in the second half.