No. 1 Drury wins close game in Florida, improves to 10-0

LAKELAND, Fla.—The number one ranked Drury Lady Panthers held off Florida Southern in their final non-conference game of the regular season to win both games in the Terrace Hotel Classic and raise their record to 10-0. Florida Southern, the host team in the event, fell to 6-6.

The Lady Panthers led by as much as 14 in the first half, but plagued with foul trouble, the Mocs fought back and pulled within three at halftime, 35-32. After scoring the game’s first seven points, Drury forward Hailey Diestelkamp picked up her second foul with 4:08 left in the first quarter and sat out the rest of the half. But last year’s NCAA-II Player of the Year turned out to be one of seven Drury players to be hit with two fouls in the first half including Brooke Stanfield, who picked up three.

The Mocs carried momentum into the third quarter and took a brief 40-39 lead midway through the quarter before Drury went back in front and led 54-49 at the end of the third.

The Lady Panthers built a nine-point advantage, 66-57, with only 3:45 remaining, but Florida Southern scrapped back within two moments later. Paige Robinson, who missed her first seven shots in the game, provided a much-needed spark down the stretch scoring all nine of her points in the final three-and-a-half minutes of regulation and helped seal the win.

“I have to give Florida Southern a ton of credit,” said Drury head coach Molly Miller. “They’re a good team, and they kept coming back. But I’m really proud of the way we overcame foul trouble today and how everybody stepped up to contribute.”

Diestelkamp’s foul trouble limited the senior to only 15 minutes of playing time, but she contributed 13 points and two steals. Payton Richards added 13 points while Emily Parker scored 10. Daejah Bernard chipped in with four assists and five steals.

Ashley Shell and Katerina Pazzaglia-Khomenko both had 13 to lead Florida Southern, who had four players score in double-figures.

The Lady Panthers were out-rebounded 37-25 but managed to force 25 turnovers while shooting 45 percent from the field hitting 26 of 57 attempts.

The Lady Panthers are idle until Jan. 2 when they return to Great Lakes Valley Conference play when they take on Southern Indiana for a 5:30 pm tipoff in Evansville, Indiana.

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