The unbeaten Drury Lady Panthers have the opportunity to play the first three rounds of the Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament after winning their third consecutive GLVC Tournament with a 94-48 win Sunday over Bellarmine.
Junior forward Hailey Diestelkamp led all scorers with 28 points, earning tournament MVP honors. In a postgame interview with the Great Lakes Valley Conference Sports Network, Diestelkamp said the Lady Panthers have surprised Division II with their dominance despite having just one senior on the roster.
“I think a lot of people didn’t think we could do it this year,” she said as her teammates began cutting down the net. “I think we’re just trying to prove people wrong this year.”
The Lady Panthers will take on 8-seed Kentucky Wesleyan in the opening round this weekend at the O’Reilly Family Event Center.
With Drury leading 81-40 at the six-minute mark Sunday, Bellarmine’s Mikayla Berry made a 3-pointer, then collided with Lady Panthers guard Daejah Bernard, knocking her to the floor. Berry ran at Bernard two more times, sending her to the floor again before a teammated finally pulled Berry away.
Diestelkamp confronted Berry after the incident. Both players received technical fouls.
Officials reviewed and discussed the skirmish for nearly 15 minutes before announcing the techicals and a pair of ejections from the Drury bench. Paige Robinson and Emily Parker left the Drury bench area and ran toward the Bellarmine bench, where Bernard was surrounded by opposing players after Berry’s shove.
Leaving the bench area is an automatic ejection. Participating in a fight after leaving the bench would lead to a suspension, but neither Robinson nor Parker engaged with any players after walking toward hte opposing bench.