SPRINGFIELD, Mo.— The Drury Lady Panthers, ranked number one in the nation, let their in-your-face defense do the talking Saturday afternoon as they overwhelmed the Tritons from the University of Missouri-St. Louis 77-44 to run their winning streak to 23 in a row while moving to 13-0 in Great Lakes Valley Conference play.
The Lady Panthers held the Tritons to a total of 9 points combined during the second and third quarters of play to cruise to the lopsided win on in front of 2,829 on Overflow the O’ day at the O’Reilly Family Event Center.
Drury’s high-pressure defense set the stage for the runaway victory in the first half as they forced Missouri-St. Louis into 23 turnovers on 10 steals and held a 36-14 halftime lead as the visiting Tritons could manage just four second-quarter points after trailing 24-10 at the end of the first period. They produced just five points in the third quarter allowing the Lady Panthers to easily record the win.
“I think true championship caliber teams are dominant, they don’t let up, and they strive to get better every minute and on every opportunity,” said Molly Miller, Drury head coach.
Drury finished the afternoon forcing a total of 40 turnovers against the Tritons while grabbing 22 steals. Missouri-St. Louis did win the rebounding battle by a 36-30 margin. Drury shot 47 percent for the game on 31 of 66 shots, while Missouri-St. Louis closed at 38 percent on 18 of 47 attempts.
“When you’re forcing 40 turnovers, you’re getting after it,” added Miller. “That’s been our bread and butter, and that’s really what fuels us on the offensive end.”
Freshman Paige Robinson topped the Drury scoring, finishing with 21 points, while junior Hailey Diestelkamp had 13, with junior Brooke Stanfield and sophomore Azia Lynch adding ten points each.
Alex LaPorta finished with 14 points to pace the Tritons (11-11, 5-8) in the loss.
The Lady Panthers are back on the hardwoods, Saturday, February 16, when they travel to Missouri S&T for a 1 pm contest in GLVC action.