This weekend, the Drexel men's and women's teams wrapped up their non-conference schedules in what was both teams' final non-conference game and first game of 2014. On Friday night, the Drexel men lost at Southern Mississippi, 66-49, while the women fell to Princeton at home, 66-59. Both teams played 13 non-conference games and the men are now 8-5 while the women have the flipped version of that record at 5-8.
Bruiser Flint's squad started out with a very promising 7-2 start with their only two losses coming to nationally-ranked teams, UCLA and Arizona, and even without injured star guard Damion Lee, the Dragons were finding ways to win. But since the 72-58 Davidson victory on December 15th, Drexel has lost three of its' last four, starting with St. Joseph's and a surprising home loss to Buffalo before the Southern Miss game on Friday.
While Dragons fans had hoped for a possible at-large berth given, that would be nearly impossible now with the lack of RPI Top 100 wins and a home loss to Buffalo. Now it's up to Chris Fouch, Frantz Massenat and company to win the CAA and earn that automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. The rest of the CAA members have all had mediocre non-conference results and it looks like the conference is wide open at this point. Towson and Delaware will probably be the toughest competition but any team can win on any given night in the CAA this year.
For Denise Dillon's team coming off a WNIT championship last season, most fans knew it would be tough to repeat that type of success after losing Hollie Mershon, Taylor Wootton, Renee Johnson-Allen and Nicki Jones to graduation. This young Dragon team has lost some close games against good teams including nationally-ranked Maryland and Ivy League favorite Princeton.
But like on the men's side, the CAA is wide open without Elena Delle Donne as a member of the Delaware Blue Hens. Delaware will still be tough along with James Madison, the favorite to win the CAA. But if this young and talented team can put it all together consistently, like they did in their 69-44 dominating win over Cornell, the Dragons could still finish in the top three of the conference standings.
The Drexel men open up conference play on the road at William & Mary on Wednesday night while the women start things off at home on Thursday night against the Charleston Cougars, the newest member of the CAA.