SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Drury is headed to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight after the Lady Panthers rallied past Grand Valley State, 51-44.
The win marks the fourth regional title in Lady Panther history.
While the victory margin finished at seven, Monday night marked likely the closest game Drury had come to a defeat all year.
The Lady Panthers shot just 22.9 percent in the opening half with Hailey Diestelkamp going just 3-14.
Drury entered the lockers down 25-22, their fewest points in an opening half all year.
At the break, the Lady Panthers received one main message from Head Coach Molly Miller.
“In the locker room I told them I’m not done coaching you guys yet. I’m not done coaching you. I don’t want to be done coaching this group yet.”
She was right.
While the scoring didn’t take off in the second half, the momentum certainly shifted.
Lauren Holmes took control in the third quarter, finishing with a team high 15 points and putting Drury up 43-36 after three quarters.
In the final act, Drury rode its signature defense and stellar offensive rebounding to run down the clock and earn itself a 51-44 victory.
“This is a special group,” said Midwest Regional MVP Hailey Diestelkamp. “I can’t even begin to explain the kind of group that we have here. Off the court, on the court. It’s just something different. I think that’s why we bought in together at the end of that game. We knew that each and every one of us had each others back. That’s not something you see on every team.”
In addition to Diestelkamp, Daejah Bernard and Holmes earned spots on the All-Midwest Regional team.
Those three and the rest of their team will make the trip out to Columbus for the Elite Eight.
The Lady Panthers will play on Tuesday, March 26th.
As for their opponent, they’ll learn their dance partner after the field is reseeded following the conclusion of all eight regional tournaments.