by Drury Athletics
In a showdown of top 25 teams, the third-ranked Drury Lady Panthers held off a strong challenge from 17th ranked Lewis claiming a 69-66 win at the O’Reilly Family Event Center on Saturday afternoon and improved to 15-0 and 5-0 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.
Less than 48 hours after posting a career first triple-double, league MVP candidate, junior Hailey Diestelkamp carried the Lady Panthers to the win with a double-double effort scoring 28 points and grabbing 15 rebounds while willing Drury to the win defensively.
“Tough is the word that comes to mind for me because she’s logged a lot of minutes and she’s got some aches and pains, but she gutted through it and played at a whole different level,” said Molly Miller, Drury head coach.
Drury grabbed early control of the contest in the opening quarter as they raced to a 28-15 lead on the strength of strong outside shooting by freshman Paige Robinson, who was a perfect 4 for 4 from the field in the period including three shots from 3-point range. The Flyers cut into the lead in the second period, outscoring Drury 12-2 to trim the margin to three points before the Lady Panthers finished the half with a 36-30 edge.
Drury fell behind 52-49 entering the final quarter, but a 10-0 run provided them a 66-56 lead with less than four minutes to play, and they held on for the final margin.
While Drury extended its winning streak to 15, they also snapped Lewis’ 13-game string they carried into the contest.
“I think you need a game like this to test yourself,” said Miller. “Because, up until today, every possession wasn’t maybe as important, but in this game it was, and that was a good challenge for us.”
Robinson chipped in 19 points for the Lady Panthers, while the Flyers saw only four players score in the contest, all in double-figures, led by a 22 point effort from Gabby Green.
Drury forced the disciplined Flyers (13-2, 4-1) into 27 turnovers for the contest, including 13 steals. Lewis captured the rebounding battle 31-26 over Drury and in the loss was 25 of 44 shooting from the field for 57 percent, while the Lady Panthers were 27 of 62 for a 44 percent showing.