ORANGE, Calif.— The Drury Lady Panthers, ranked number one in NCAA-II, used a big third quarter to blow open a 10-point halftime lead in a 71-44 win over 12th ranked West Texas A&M on Saturday in Orange, California. It was the second game for both teams in the CCA Division II Tipoff Classic.
Drury (2-0) built a nine-point lead in the middle of the second period, but the Lady Buffs (0-2) pulled within four just before the intermission. The Lady Panthers would get a late spark and used a couple of steals, free throws, and three-pointer by Kelsey Winfrey to go ahead by ten, 28-18 at halftime.
“(That run) literally all stemmed from our energy with all of our players – one through fifteen,” said Drury head coach Molly Miller. “Our five players on the court gave us a spark, our bench was loud, and we made some hustle plays in there that was the difference.”
Drury carried momentum into the third quarter and started to click offensively as they outscored the Lady Buffs 25-10 in the period. The Lady Panthers went 9 of 18 from the field, 2 for 3 from three-point range and 6 for 8 from the foul line in that 10-minute span to take a 54-28 lead to the fourth quarter.
Hailey Diestelkamp led Drury with a game-high 19 points and seven rebounds. Freshman Alana Findley added 12 points and four steals while Paige Robinson had 11 points.
No West Texas A&M players reached double-figures. The Lady Buffs were without All-American guard Lexy Hightower who missed the trip with an injury.
The Lady Panthers forced 40 turnovers from West Texas A&M and collected 14 steals. The Lady Buffs shot 45 percent from the field going 18 for 40, including 3 for 9 from three-point range and they were 5 for 11 from the free-throw line.
“I thought we did a really good job in a quick turnaround time in terms of our preparation,” added Miller. “Our players were dialed in and really focused. We were able to blow up some of their sets today, and that’s a testament to our players learning their personnel, their tendencies, and accomplishing that in about 12 hours of time.”
Drury shot 37 percent going 23 for 62 but connected on 20 of their 26 free throw attempts.
The Lady Panthers play their final game in the CCA D-II Tipoff Classic on Sunday when they face Montana State-Billings at 12:45 pm in Orange, California.