by Drury Athletics
The eighth-ranked Drury Lady Panthers exploded for 67 first-half points and breezed past the Miners of Missouri S&T 113-61 Saturday afternoon at the O’Reilly Family Event Center to open Great Lakes Valley Conference play.
The Lady Panthers (8-0, 1-0) turned to their signature defensive pressure in the opening half forcing 22 Miner turnovers including 17 steals to take command early and left little doubt as they led 42-22 after the opening quarter and 67-32 at the intermission. Junior Daejah Bernard led the defensive attack for Drury as she had 9 steals, one short of the single-game team record, and the Lady Panthers finished with a season-best 29 steals overall while forcing Missouri S&T into 38 turnovers.
“I think when you get into conference, there’s a renewed sense of hunger and excitement and I was pleased with our play from the get-go today,” said Molly Miller, Drury head coach.
Drury backed up their spectacular defensive performance with a balanced offensive display with six players reaching double figures, paced by the 17 from junior Hailey Diestelkamp. Sophomore Payton Richards and freshman Paige Robinson each had 16. Sophomores Lauren Holmes and Emily Parker had 13 apiece, and sophomore Azia Lynch chipped in 10.
Maddie Raley led the way for Missouri S&T (2-4, 0-1) with 13 points.
The 113 point effort is the second best in Lady Panther history, one point short of a 114 point showing against Rockhurst during the 2004-05 season.
“This team is a team that shares the ball well, and because of that, we were very productive on the offensive end as well today,” added Miller.
Drury shot 54 percent for the game (44 for 81) and hit on 13 of 27 three-point attempts. They edged the Miners 40-39 in rebounding, with Diestelkamp leading the way with nine boards.
The win was the 43rd consecutive home win for Drury in GLVC action, dating back to January 5, 2014, and gives them now 29 consecutive home wins overall.
“We talk about a statement game all the time and this being the GLVC opener, it’s a good statement for us to make in terms of what we’re here to accomplish,” said Miller.
The Lady Panthers return to action with a road trip to Arkansas-Fort Smith, Tuesday, December 4th in a scheduled 5:30 p.m. contest.