UPPER MARLBORO, MD (WWAY) — No. 3 seed UNCW closed the contest on a 16-4 run to break a 47-all tie and defeat No. 6 Drexel, 63-51, in quarterfinal round action Friday at the 2011 Virginia 529 College Savings Plan Colonial Athletic Association Women’s Basketball Championship at the Show Place Arena.
The Seahawks improved to 23-7 as they established a new program mark for wins in a season and advanced to Saturday’s second semifinal at 2:30 p.m. against Delaware, who shocked No. 2 seed Old Dominion, 72-55, on Friday. The Dragons slipped to 19-12 with the loss.
CAA Rookie-of-the-Year Alisha Andrews matched her career-high with 21 points to lead four UNCW players in double figures as the Seahawks matched their season-high with eight three-pointers and were 17-of-21 at the free-throw line for the game. Junior Kristen Hanzer chipped in 13 second-half points, sophomore Jessica Freeman pitched in 12 and senior Martha White added 10. Senior forward Brittany Blackwell pulled down a game-high 11 rebounds as the Seahawks held a 36-26 advantage on the glass.
Junior Kamile Nacickaite was the only Drexel player to score in double figures as she poured in a game-high 22 points. Freshman Fiona Flanagan finished with eight points and sophomore Hollie Mershon added seven for the Dragons, who shot just 32.0 percent from the floor in the second half after making 47.4 percent of its tries in the first half.
With the score tied at 47-all at the 6:25 mark of the second half, a free-throw by Hanzer and a layup by White on the same possession sparked a 9-0 UNCW spurt that put the Seahawks out in front, 56-47, with 4:14 remaining.
The two teams would then go more than two minutes without scoring until a pair of free throws by junior Ayana Lee and a jumper by Nacickaite offset a free-throw by Hanzer and pulled the Dragons within six, 57-51, with 71 seconds on the clock.
Drexel would then force the Seahawks down to the final ticks on the shot clock in their next possession before Andrews converted a driving layup to stretch the Seahawks advantage to 59-51.
The Dragons would be unable to convert in its next two possessions and were forced to foul, sending the Seahawks to line, where Freeman and Andrews combined to knock down all four attempts to seal the victory.
UNCW opened the game on a 9-2 run and held a 13-6 advantage when a pair of free-throws by sophomore Hollie Mershon ignited a 12-0 Drexel spurt that gave the Dragons an 18-13 advantage midway through the opening frame.
Back-to-back three-pointers by Andrews put the Seahawks ahead, 19-18, but Drexel scored 10 of the last 15 points of the frame to take a 32-28 lead into the locker room.
The Dragons grabbed their largest lead of the game, 33-26, on a three-pointer by Nacickaite with 17::42 remaining in the contest moments before a driving jumper by Hanzer led to a 10-3 UNCW run that saw Hanzer score seven of the team’s 10 points and level the score at 36-all.
The two teams would then trade baskets back and forth over the next five minutes until the three-point possession by the Seahawks ignited the decisive spurt.