Lady Monarchs Advance To CAA Final In A 64-63 Thriller Against Drexel

March 11, 2005
By ODU Athletics
ODU Sports

March 11, 2005

Box Score

FAIRFAX, Va. (March 11, 2005) - Thirteen-time defending CAA women's basketball champion Old Dominion escaped with a narrow 64-63 win over fourth-seed Drexel Friday night in the semifinals at the Patriot Center.

It was the closest margin of victory in 40 tournament contests for ODU as the game came down to the final possession. George Mason took ODU to overtime in the 2002 semifinals but the Lady Monarchs prevailed 68-63. Tonight's game featured eight ties and 10 lead changes in the final 11 minutes of play.

ODU senior guard Shareese Grant, the two-time Most Outstanding Performer of the CAA Championship, drove the right side of the lane and was fouled by Drexel junior forward Candice Williams with 1:07 to go. Grant calmly stepped to the line and knocked down two foul shots in what proved to be the winning points of the contest.

ODU junior guard Lawona Davis attempted to collect a loose ball on the sideline with :17.2 remaining but she stepped out of bounds, giving the ball back to the Dragons. Drexel senior forward Katrina Martin drove the left side and had a shot blocked by freshman forward Tiffany Green which resulted in another held ball and a Drexel possession with :5.8 on the clock. The Dragons called a timeout to set-up a play under their own basket and Old Dominion called a break of its own after the teams returned to the court.

Drexel freshman guard Nicole Hester attempted to inbound the ball to Martin who was momentarily open in the paint. The Lady Monarchs' Tish Lyons stepped in front and forced a tie-up. The possession arrow gave it back to ODU with :3.5 left. Drexel freshman forward Anna Karlssom-Gonzalez fouled Grant before the ball was inbounded and sent the senior guard to the line for a one-and-one. Grant missed the front end but Green collected her game-high 11th rebound and was immediately fouled to earn a trip the line with :2.2 left. Green missed both attempts but Drexel was unable to gain possession as the horn sounded sending the Lady Monarchs to their 14th consecutive conference finals appearance.

Sophomore forward Sherida Triggs had a team-high 11 points for ODU and Grant added 10 after going just 2-of-14 from the floor. Green and freshman guard TJ Jordan added nine apiece and Davis had eight to go along with a game-high five assists and three steals. The Lady Monarchs, who have dominated opponents on the glass this season, held a 46-26 advantage on the boards.

Drexel was paced by freshman guard Narissa Suber's game-high 22 points on 6-of-13 shooting, including four of nine from behind the arc. Junior forward Catherine Scanlon had 13 points and seven rebounds and Martin had 11 points and seven rebounds. Junior guard Jackie Falsom added 10 points for the Dragons.

ODU raced out to an early 11-0 lead before the Dragons responded with seven unanswered points to cut the deficit to four points at the 15:14 mark of the first half. The Lady Monarchs built their lead back to 10 points on a three-pointer by Jordan to make it 20-10 with 9:50 remaining.

Drexel then went on a 7-0 run to make it 20-17 with 6:20 to go in the half. A three-pointer and two free throws by Suber cut it to 20-15 before a Martin basket made it 20-17 two minutes later.

Green responded with a bucket in the post and freshman guard Jen Nuzzo added a three-pointer from the wing as the Lady Monarchs expanded their lead to 25-17 with 4:10 left.

A Suber score and two free throws from Falson brought the Dragons to within four at 25-21 with 3:34 left. Shahida Williams added a bucket with 2:33 remaining to put the Lady Monarchs up 26-21 with 2:33 left. Scanlon notched two free throws for the Dragons but ODU closed the half with two Grant free throws and a Green put back as the Lady Monarchs increased their lead to seven for the 30-23 halftime score.

ODU freshman center Megan Pym connected on a three-point play to put the Lady Monarchs in front 37-27 with 16:01 left in the game. Davis scored off a Grant pass to make it 39-28 with 15:28 to play giving the Lady Monarchs their biggest lead of the game.

Drexel then went on a 10-2 run sparked by two Scanlon buckets and a Suber three-pointer to bring the Dragons within three at 41-38 with 12:18 remaining.

Triggs converted on a three-point play to put ODU up 44-38 with 11:58 to go, but Falsom answered with a trey to make it a three-point game moments later. Scanlon then hit a three-pointer from the wing as the ball bounced around the rim and fell through to knot the score at 44-44 with 11:00 on the clock.

Davis converted an offensive rebound for a score with 9:15 remaining. Hester tied it once again with a field goal at 46-46 at 8:45. Green hit the first of two free throws but Triggs grabbed the offensive board and scored to put ODU up 49-46 at 8:18. Suber answered with another shot from long-range that knotted the score at 49-49 with 7:57 left.

Martin, who came into the league as an 80% free throw shooter, went to the line with 6:43 remaining and made one of two to give Drexel its first lead at 50-49 with 6:43 left. Martin finished the night 5-7 from the line.

Pym rebounded a Grant miss and put it in as ODU took the 51-50 lead with six minutes left. Suber then connected on two foul shots to put the Dragons back in front 52-51 with 5:50 to play. Jordan hit a deep three-pointer from the top of the key to put the Lady Monarchs up 54-52 with 5:22 left. Lyons found a wide-open Green for a layup to make it 56-52 with 4:22 to go.

Falson went to the line for a one-and-one with 4:17 to go and made both attempts to trim the margin to 56-54. Martin grabbed a Suber miss with 3:07 to play and scored to knot the game at 56-56.

Grant converted on two foul shots with 2:46 left to give the Lady Monarchs a 58-56 advantage. Martin drove the lane and was fouled by Davis and she converted the three-point play to give the Dragons a 59-58 lead with 2:29 left.

Davis found Triggs open under the basket off an offensive rebound as ODU went back up 60-59 with 2:12 left. Triggs committeded her fifth foul as Martin drove the left baseline sending one of the league's best free throw shooters to the stripe with 1:50 remaining. Martin hit both as Drexel took the 61-60 lead.

Green answered with a bucket in the paint off a Lyons assist with 1:40 to go. Scanlon banked in running jumper with 1:18 left as the Dragons took their final lead at 63-62. ODU called a timeout and set up a play with 1:13 to go. That's when Grant was fouled and converted the winning free throws.

Drexel called a timeout with 1:01 on the clock. Suber missed everything on a three-point shot with :54 left. Grant shot and missed and there was a held ball that gave possession to ODU with :42.

Old Dominion (21-8) advances to face top-seed Delaware tomorrow at 12 p.m. Earlier in the evening, the Blue Hens came from behind late in the game to defeat #4-seed James Madison 62-57. The Blue Hens swept ODU during the regular season. ODU and Delaware have squared up once in finals in 2003. The Lady Monarchs won 66-58. ODU and Delaware also met in last year's semifinals as the Lady Monarchs won 73-62.

Drexel, who edged ODU 71-68 in the teams' previous meeting on March 6, drops to 19-10.


Thoughts on the game-
"I'm looking at the rebounding totals (ODU 46, DREX 26) and I'm stunned. I'm looking at points in the paint (ODU 36, DREX 20) and it was significant. The game was tremendously physical. What a battle we had. When it's physical like that, you just have to play hard and hope for the best. Nobody can be tired at this time. If you start thinking you're tired then you'll be tired. It's about playing a championship game. We've been able to play our bench, which is fortunate. Hopefully that will benefit us in some regard."

On Lawona Davis' noticeable limp at the end of the game-
"Lawona Davis twisted her ankle, but she taped it up and she'll be ready to go tomorrow. "

On Drexel's first half run-
"Drexel has tremendous outside shooters and they run an offense that gets those shooters going. We went to the zone with the intent on keeping ourselves in check. It just came down to we had to make big shots and big plays. Lawona Davis' tip at the end was huge and to just keep the ball alive."

On protecting the basket underneath in the final seconds when Drexel had a chance to get the lead-
"We changed our alignment by putting one of our biggest players on the floor to guard the inbounds pass and make it difficult to get a good look."

On playing Delaware in the championship game-
"Delaware plays a zone as well as anybody. You have to be safe and secure with the basketball and you have to make spontaneous decisions based on the holes. If you attack it properly and you're not intimidated, then there will be opportunities to score."

OLD DOMINION'S Shareese Grant
On how close the game was-
"All I could think about was playing good defense. We knew defense was going to win this game and it sure paid off. Every time we huddled together, I stressed to the team that we have to play defense. We practice that all the time in practice so I knew we could play hard down the stretch."

On playing Delaware tomorrow-
"They've beaten us twice. So, we just have to go play hard from the start. If we get the lead, we have to keep the lead."

On how close the game was-
"My adrenaline was going. I was just thinking that we needed to make a stop. Defense wins games, so all I was thinking about was getting a stop."

On protecting the basket underneath in the final seconds when Drexel had a chance to get the lead-
"That's what we wanted to do. That eliminated their chances to score. It was a big relief to get that stop. We talked in the huddle and we had a feeling that they would go to Katrina Martin down low."

Thoughts on the game-
"Our players played hard. I couldn't ask for anything more. They did everything they could to win that game. Down the stretch, a couple of plays and possessions just didn't go in our favor. It's been a phenomenal year. I have a lot of them back and hopefully that will set the tone for Drexel."

On the rebounding difference-
"That's difficult to get out rebounded by 20. We knew that was something we had to work on. We're outsized by probably every opponent we play. So, size-wise we struggle. To ODU's credit, they got a lot of rebounds. To look at the rebounding difference you wouldn't think it was a one-point game."

On comparing this year to last year
"This is a different team than last year. I'm confident in what we can do. We played hard and did the best we could do."