The Cougars finished their season series with the Drexel Dragons on Sunday afternoon in a nip and tuck game. Both teams had been playing well of late as Drexel, the second ranked team in the CAA, was riding a six game win streak while the Cougars had won three of their previous four games.
The last time that these two teams met, Drexel shot the lights out and hit 15 threes in rout to victory. Coach Candice Jackson and the Cougars knew in order to beat the Dragons they would have to defend at a high level.
The first quarter started slowly for both teams – as neither team could get anything going offensively. A main concern for the Cougars was their lack of production in the paint which slowed down the game and did not allow the Cougars to operate their offense the way they wanted to.
Entering the second quarter, Charleston had a slim 8-6 lead, looking to play more aggressive. The Cougars were able to play more effectively in the paint and that allowed for more scoring opportunities,. Unfortunately for the Cougars their focus on the paint left Drexel’s shooters open, and they were able to knock down their jump shots.
Drexel led 27-18 at the half, for the Cougars to work their way back into the game, they would have to do a better job defending the post, and chasing down Drexel’s open shooters. With those keys to the second half, the Cougars slowly worked there way back into the game, with 4:47 left in the third quarter the Cougars found themselves down by 6.
The Cougars defense made changes at the half, and came out looking to defend the three. Down by four nearing the end of the third quarter, Charleston’s senior guard Jackie Luna-Castro hit a jumper at the buzzer to cut the lead to 38-36.
The final quarter was much like the first three-tightly contested with no one giving in. With 5:10 remaining the score was tied 42-42.
With just 1:42 left in the game, Drexel was able to knot the game up from the free throw line.
The Cougars had possession in the closing moments with the opportunity to take the last shot. After timeouts from both teams, Luna-Castro found herself with the ball with only a couple seconds remaining. Although she missed, she drew a foul and hit all three of her free throws. After a timeout the Cougars were able to shut down Drexel one last time to preserve the win, 49-46.
Luna-Castro led the way in points, tying a career high with 22 in addition to her 9 rebounds.
The win gave the Cougars a 9-12 record overall and 4-6 in conference play. Charleston has now won four of their last five games.
The College now looks to take their success to the road, as they take a two game trip to face Delaware and Towson, before returning home to host Elon on Friday, Feb. 19th.