by Ed Beach
The Drury Lady Panthers topped 100 points for the third straight game and for the fourth time in their last five contests with a 103-60 victory over the Rockhurst Hawks in Kansas City, Missouri, on Thursday.
The number one ranked Lady Panthers kept their record perfect moving to 24-0 and 15-0 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. Rockhurst dropped to 9-14 and 3-12 in the league.
Drury outscored the Hawks 34-12 in the second quarter and pulled away for a 52-21 halftime lead. The Lady Panthers led by as much as 49 in the second half.
Drury’s bench provided a spark as Payton Richards scored a career-high 20 points as the junior from West Plains went 8 for 10 from the field and 4 for 6 from three-point range. Drury’s bench scored 62 of the team’s 103 points.
“Payton came in and hit a couple of shots. We could sense she had a hot hand, and that was really helpful,” said Lady Panthers head coach Molly Miller. “Azia (Lynch) gave us a lift. Brooke (Stanfield) and Kelsey (Winfrey) are really playing well. It’s nice to have a group that can come in make a run for us.”
Hailey Diestelkamp had her seventh double-double of the season as she scored a game-high 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Lynch added 14 points while Winfrey chipped in 10.
28 of Rockhurst’s 60 points came from the free throw line as Drury held the Hawks to 30 percent shooting from the field going 15 for 49.
The Lady Panthers shot 51 percent from the floor going 39 for 76, and they connected on 6 of their 14 three-point attempts. Drury forced 31 turnovers and owned a 42-36 advantage in rebounding.
Madeline Ronshausen had 13 points to lead Rockhurst, and Maddy Grennes had 12 rebounds for the Hawks in the loss.
Drury is now averaging 108 points per game in their last five outings, and their win on Thursday was their 61st consecutive regular season victory.
The Lady Panthers continue their road trip on Saturday when they play at William Jewell for a 1 pm game in Liberty, Missouri.
(headline photo by Valerie Wutti courtesy Drury University)