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Resilient Huskies go down in CAA semis, lose to Drexel in OT

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Resilient Huskies go down in CAA semis, lose to Drexel in OT

Senior forward Gabby Giacone drives into the paint in a Jan 20 game against Delaware.

Senior forward Gabby Giacone drives into the paint in a Jan 20 game against Delaware.

File photo by Riley Robinson

Senior forward Gabby Giacone drives into the paint in a Jan 20 game against Delaware.

File photo by Riley Robinson

File photo by Riley Robinson

Senior forward Gabby Giacone drives into the paint in a Jan 20 game against Delaware.

Vincent van Oorschot, news staff

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Drexel proved too strong in the CAA semifinal against an irrepressible Northeastern squad, taking the overtime contest 73-69 in what was a battle of wills, and moving on to battle Towson tomorrow in the CAA championship game for the second season in a row.

The game began slowly, with both teams failing to capitalize on easy early chances. Drexel (24-7), who have one of the best defensive teams in the CAA this season, were able to hold Northeastern (20-11) to just two makes on their first 11 attempts. On the other hand, Drexel only converted one of their first seven shots.

A major moment for the Dragons was when junior forward Niki Metzel got handed two early fouls, giving her an early spot on the bench, allowing the Huskies to dominate the hustle stats early.

Northeastern started out slow, but found rhythm out of their first timeout. The Huskies would make four consecutive baskets, creating a six-point lead at the end of the first quarter.

Senior forward Gabby Giacone, who missed her opening three layups, went on a tear at the end of the first, making three layups in quick succession and building an early lead for the sixth-seeded Huskies

A 10-3 start to the second period saw Drexel take back their lead that they had at the start of the game with three minutes to go in the first half. Their lead did not last long however, as junior forward Ayanna Dublin knocked down a mid-range jumper and senior star Jess Genco hit an important three.

Some key efforts by junior guard Ana Ferariu kept the Dragons neck-and-neck with the grizzly Huskies, racking up six points late in the half to force a tie game at halftime, with the teams locked at 23.

Drexel got out of the gates strong in the second half, making the first two baskets to break the tie. But the Huskies would stay in it with consistent free-throw shooting from Genco and a 3-pointer from freshman guard Katie May.

Metzel made her presence known upon re-entering the game after her two early fouls, racking up 12 points after three quarters. In addition, CAA Player of the Year Bailey Greenberg had 10 boards under her belt, dominating the rebounding game.

However, two dagger 3-pointers by junior guard Shannon Todd with minutes to go in the third quarter gave Northeastern a four-point buffer with 10 minutes to play in the semifinal.

The momentum did not carry on into the fourth for the Huskies, as Drexel went on a 7-1 run to get themselves in command throughout the fourth quarter thanks to three free throws by guard Aubree Brown.With 4:23 left in the game, Greenberg came through for the Dragons with an and-1 jump shot off the glass, earning herself another double-double in points and rebounds.

A key layup by May put Northeastern ahead with two minutes to go, but Greenberg made two free-throws to counter with 43.3 seconds to play.

Northeastern would have the chance to win the game with 5.5 seconds left with the Huskies having possession in the front-court, but Todd’s missed three-point attempt would force overtime.

Drexel would utilise their strengths in the scoring ability of Greenberg and free-throw consistency of Metzel (who would finish with 24 points) throughout overtime. They put the game beyond doubt with 32 seconds to play after Drexel guard Keishana Washington knocked down the Dragons’ 19th and 20th free-throws.

Northeastern’s top-performers included Dublin, who finished with 16 points and nine rebounds, one short of a double-double. Giacone would get herself a double-double, accumulating 14 points and 11 rebounds, whereas Genco would end with 13 points and a perfect 7-7  from the free-throw line.

The CAA championship game will take place Saturday, with Drexel set to take on Towson.

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