LAKELAND, Fla.– The number one ranked Drury Lady Panthers kept their record perfect and moved to 9-0 as they overpowered Eckerd 97-57 on Thursday in the first game of the Terrace Hotel Classic in Lakeland, Florida.
Drury shot a season-best 51 percent from the field going 36 for 70, and they connected on a season-high 13 three-pointers making 13 of 27 attempts from behind the arc.
Lady Panthers point guard Daejah Bernard set the program’s all-time assist record as she passed Kara Rutledge (2002-06) with her 475th career assist. The senior from St. Joseph, Missouri, broke the mark on a pass to Lauren Holmes that resulted in a three-pointer with 3:36 remaining in the second quarter.
“I have to give a big thank you to my teammates because I literally couldn’t get this record without them,” said Bernard. “I knew before the game how many I had to get for the record, but during the game, I had no idea. I found out at halftime when the scoreboard showed the stats.”
Bernard entered the game needing four assists to set the record and finished with nine.
“I’m really proud of her,” said Drury head coach Molly Miller on Bernard. “Daejah makes us go, and it’s not an easy task to get to the top of anything. What’s amazing is the consistency that she’s played with. Every game, every week, and every year, her consistency is what got her to the top spot.”
Drury’s offense clicked on all cylinders as they scored at least 23 points in every quarter en route to a 97-point afternoon. Senior forward Hailey Diestelkamp poured in a season-high 24 points and had her first double-double of the season, adding 10 rebounds to go with six assists. Kelsey Winfrey had 13 points, and Emily Parker chipped in 11.
“Our defense usually creates our offense, and we were able to force 31 turnovers,” said Miller. “When you’re hitting shots on top of that, your margin of victory is going to be pretty big, and I’ll take 51 percent from the field any day.”
Mikayla Kuehne and Zoe Richards both had 11 points to lead Eckerd (5-3).
Drury plays their second game in the Terrace Hotel Classic on Friday against host Florida Southern. Tipoff is at 1 pm (Central) in Lakeland, Florida.