Posted: Saturday, 12 January 2013 7:31PM

Lady Panthers get in the win column



RENSSELAER, IN (Drury Athletics)  -- Sophomore post Emilie Gray matched her career high with 21 points and Drury used a 21-6 run midway through the second half to pull away from Saint Joseph's and grab an 81-71 Great Lakes Valley Conference victory over the Pumas here on Saturday afternoon.

Bethanie Funderburk added 20 points, Katie Pritchard had 18 points - including 15 in the second half - and Kylie Williamson added 10 points as the Panthers snapped a three-game losing streak.

Drury improved to 7-6 overall and 1-4 in the GLVC, while Saint Joseph's fell to 1-11 and 0-4.

The Lady Panthers trailed 37-33 at halftime, but began to pull away in the middle portion of the second half on the strength of the inside play of Gray and Williamson and outside shooting of Pritchard, who hit 5 of 10 shots, including two of three 3-pointers, and made all six of her free throws in the contest.

The Lady Panthers were clinging to a 53-49 lead with nine minutes remaining when two buckets each by Gray and Williamson made up an 8-0 run that gave DU a 61-49 advantage with 7:11 remaining.

Saint Joseph's - which scored just one field goal in a nine-minute stretch - never got closer than eight points from there as the Lady Panthers, preseason favorites in the GLVC West, broke through with their first league win in five tries.

"It's a much-needed win," Drury coach Steve Harold said. "I thought our girls finally in the second half started executing at a level that was somewhat acceptable ... those are things that have to happen for us to be successful. They've been scrapping, battling, fighting, clawing ... they needed and deserved this victory."

Gray made 9 of 15 shots in posting her third game of 19 or more points in her last four outings.

"Gray's a scorer, and if we can get her to focus on defensive end as much as she does on offensive end ... I think we've got a tremendous player here," Harold said.

Jasmyne Reynolds scored 15 points to lead five Pumas in double-figures.
Drury claimed a whopping 46-21 advantage on the boards, led by eight from Funderburk and six rebounds by Sanayika Shields.

Saturday's game marked the return of sophomore point guard Consuelo Owens to the DU squad. Owens played for Drury in the second semester last season, but stayed home in Indianapolis last semester to tend to personal/family matters. Owens played five minutes and had one assist.

"She's not ready to go yet, but we got her in there for a few minutes," Harold said. "She's trying to get familiar with what we do again ... it's a matter of shaking off a little rust, but we'll get her back out there."

The Lady Panthers will return home to entertain Illinois-Springfield on Thursday evening and West-leader Quincy on Saturday afternoon in GLVC play, the latter being "Great Southern Throwback Day."

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