SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– The 9th ranked Drury Lady Panthers turned to their defense to get the job done against the Lindenwood Lions during the opening game of the Oasis Hotel & Convention Center Thanksgiving Classic on Friday evening, claiming a 76-43 win at the O’Reilly Family Event Center.
Leading 19-15 after the opening quarter, the Lady Panthers outscored the Lions 20-8 in the second period to grab a 39-23 halftime lead, while forcing the visitors into 13 first-half turnovers. In the third quarter, Drury limited the Lions to just seven points and forced an equal number of turnovers to take control at 54-30 and secured their fifth straight win to open the season.
“I think we did a great job of pressing them and trying to get them out of the normal flow of their offense,” said Molly Miller, Drury head coach. “I was really proud of how locked in our kids were.”
While they showcased their defense, Drury (5-0) utilized balanced scoring in claiming the win. Freshman Paige Robinson led the way with a game-high 16 points, hitting on 4 of 6 from three-point range. Sophomores Payton Richards and Emily Parker added 12 points each, as the Lady Panthers hit for 49 percent shooting from the field (31 of 63) and held the Lions to 36 percent (16 of 45). Lindsay Medlen, with 10 points, was the only Lindenwood (4-1) player to reach double figures.
“We had 22 assists tonight, and that’s a great number, so we shared the basketball well, found the hot hand and the open shooter…we were hard to guard,” added Miller.
For the game, Drury forced a total of 25 turnovers and won the rebound battle by a slim 35-32 margin with sophomore Lauren Holmes grabbing a team-high seven.
The Lady Panthers will wrap up their side of the Oasis Hotel & Convention Center Thanksgiving Classic in a scheduled 5:30 p.m. tipoff against Davenport at the O”Reilly Family Event Center on Saturday.