by Ed Beach
The Drury Lady Panthers opened workouts this week in preparation for their four-game exhibition series in Canada. Drury will conduct practices each day until their Aug. 9 departure and will play four games in four days from Aug. 11-14. The NCAA allows a program to play an exhibition series out of the country once every four years.
The Lady Panthers will play Carleton University on Sunday, Aug. 11 at 1 p.m. (Central), and they will face the Ravens again at 6 p.m. (CDT) the following night in Ottawa. Carleton finished last season with an 18-5 record and in 2018 won the Critelli Cup as the Ontario University Athletics champions.
Drury will then travel to Montreal and face Concordia University for a 5 p.m. game on Aug. 13 and the University of Quebec at Montreal on Aug. 14 at 3:30 p.m. Both tipoffs are listed as Central Time starts. Concordia went 10-6 last season while UQAM finished 3-13.
The Lady Panthers return all five starters and 11 letter winners from last year’s team including the WBCA National Player of the Year in Division II, Hailey Diestelkamp as well as last year’s GLVC Defensive Player of the Year Daejah Bernard. Drury finished 35-1 last season, won the NCAA-II Midwest Regional, advanced to the D-II Final Four, went 18-0 in the conference play and won their third-straight league title.
The four games north of the border will also be the exhibition debuts of six new Lady Panthers including 5-11 forward Kayleigh Evans (Fr., Van Buren, Ark.), 5-9 guard Kelsey Winfrey (Jr., transfer-Missouri Univ., Lebanon HS, Lebanon, Mo.), 5-10 forward Alana Finley (Fair Grove HS, Fair Grove, Mo.), 5-11 forward Mia Henderson (Benton HS, St. Joseph, Mo.), 5-6 guard Sydney Benning (Mercy McAuley HS, Cincinnati, Ohio), and 6-2 center Hannah Morrell (Berryville HS, Berryville, Ark.).