SPRINGFIELD -- With a tough draw against the tournament’s No. 1 seed, Drury’s season came to a close in disappointing fashion.
The Blue Devils (10-12) played solid defense, but struggled early against Sabis’ full court defense and fell into a hole it couldn’t dig out of, falling to the Bulldogs 46-25 on Thursday night.
"It’s tough," Drury coach Jay Meehan said. "We just didn’t play our best today and it’s a tough game to not play your best."
Drury had difficulty moving the ball up the court in the first half against an agitating Bulldog defense and had more giveaways than field goals, resulting in easy transition baskets for Sabis and just one score in the game’s first eight minutes for the Blue Devils.
"They’re certainly athletic. They have quick feet, but also quick hands. They got their hands on a lot of balls," Meehan said. "Some of our turnovers were live ball turnovers that led to two-on-one and three-on-one situations and that doesn’t help. When we’re struggling to score and we’re giving up easy baskets, it didn’t help. When we got them in the half court, I thought we did OK [defensively], but we just couldn’t score."
Leading 12-2 after one quarter, the Bulldogs (18-5) never looked back. Drury settled in a bit later in the second quarter after Sabis extended its lead to 18-4, forcing Meehan to call a time out.
The Devils climbed back into it after the stoppage on a hook shot by Olivia Carlson and a three-pointer from, but struggled to match their opponents’ speed and aggressiveness during a game in which the referees took the phrase "let them play" to another level and trailed 28-13 at the half.
Neither team could find a groove offensively coming out of the intermission as both were ice cold from the floor. It wasn’t until 3:35 remained in the third that Sabis scored the first basket of the half on a 3-point basket by Mariah Pendleton. That shot sparked a dominant run for the Bulldogs in which they scored 14 points, while holding Drury to just one basket -- a 3-pointer from the elbow by Katie Toomey with 30 second left in the quarter to essentially put the game on ice with eight minutes left to play.
Drury ended the game on a somewhat positive note, scoring nine of the last 11 points against Sabis’ bench.
"It’s a tough day," Meehan said. "These girls worked hard and did everything we asked of them this season and today just wasn’t our day."
Toomey led the Blue Devils with six points, followed by Molly Moulton with five. Carlson and Heather Morris each scored four points.