Drexel Playing for the WNIT Trophy
Tickets for Saturday's game are still available, and can be purchased by calling 1-866-4-DREXEL, by visiting DrexelTickets.com, or by visiting the box office at the Daskalakis Athletic Center.
Drexel reached the WNIT title game by defeating Iona, Harvard, Bowling Green, Auburn and Florida thus far in the tournament. The Dragons most recently upended the Gators on Wednesday night, 67-57, in the semifinals. In that game, senior Hollie Mershon scored 28 points and added a career-high 10 assists, the most assists by a Dragon in any single game since Kira Karlstrom had 10 against George Mason on March 1, 2007. Already one of the top five scorers in Drexel history, Mershon now sits just one assist shy of tying Maureen Michaels for third place all-time in that category in Drexel history. She is the only player in the top five of both categories in Drexel women's basketball history, and one of just three - along with Barbara Yost and Debbie Lynn - to reach 1,500 career points and 300 career assists.
Mershon has gotten help on this run from fellow seniors Taylor Wootton and Renee Johnson-Allen. Wootton added 16 points in the win over Florida on Wednesday, and is 13-for-20 from the floor over the last two contests. Johnson-Allen, who has started the last 14 games in place of injured senior teammate Nicki Jones, has averaged 5.6 points and 5.2 rebounds a game during the WNIT, both figures that are above her season averages and more than double her career averages. Junior Fiona Flanagan has provided a major offensive boost as well, netting 8.2 points per game during the tournament including 11 against Florida in the semifinals. Freshman Meghan Creighton, meanwhile, has dished out 13 assists against just two turnovers in the tournament, and chipped in eight points to the win over the Gators.
Utah comes into Saturday's championship game having done most of its damage during the WNIT on the road. The Utes have knocked off Long Beach State, San Diego, Pacific, Saint Mary's and Kansas State on their way to the title game, with only the San Diego win coming on their home court. This will be the first game in the eastern time zone for the Utes, who opened the season by winning their first seven games and nine of their first ten. Utah is led by All-Pac 12 forward Michelle Plouffe, who averages 17.4 points per game and 9.3 rebounds a contest. Taryn Wicijowski adds 14.4 points and 7.2 boards a game, while Iwalani Rodrigues adds 11.5 points and a team-best 2.9 assists a contest.
Saturday's game at the Daskalakis Athletic Center will hold the distinction of being the final on-campus basketball game of the 2012-13 NCAA Division I season, be it on the men's or women's side. Drexel and Utah are two of just six women's teams - and 10 teams overall in Division I basketball - that will still be playing by the time they tip off at 3:00 p.m. Saturday.
Fans who cannot make it to Saturday's game can catch all the action on CBS Sports Network, where Thad Anderson and Ceal Barry will describe the action. Also on the air will be Ari Bluestein, who has called Drexel games all season long and will be at the mic on DrexelDragons.com.