Droesch Comes Home With Victory
Boston College’s Clare Droesch arrived last Tuesday at St. John’s with a twofold mission to get a win and clinch a first round bye in the Big East Tournament. It was a struggle against an improved Red Storm team but the Eagles got the job done at the end for a 64-55 win.
With Villanova’s loss to Rutgers, the Eagles (19-8, 10-6 Big East) earned the first round bye as they finished fourth in the Big East Conference. They will play Sunday, against the winner of Villanova/ Providence at 12 p.m. in the Hartford Civic Center (CSTV.
Kia Wright scored 19 points to lead the Red Storm. On Saturday, the #8 seed will play at 2 p.m. against #9 seed Seton Hall in the first round of the tournament. St. John’s finished 18-9 overall and completed an 8 game turnaround in wins from the 2003-2004 season when they finished 10-18.
A huge Rockaway contingent of more than a 100 people came out to see Droesch in her final Big East regular season game. They also saw Clare’s teammates perform well on the offensive end. Katherin Ress scored a game high 22 points and Aja Parham added 10 points and dished 9 assists.
Droesch only scored 4 points for the game but it was those baskets late in the second half that held off the Red Storm according to head coach Cathy Inglese.
“Clare has an understanding of what’s going on. St. John’s played a box and one and I told her to let the game come to her and don’t try to force things,” Inglese said. “When she forces things, she doesn’t play as well but she hit two crucial baskets for us and she let the game come to her and it was good.”
Droesch was happy that her teammates picked up the slack.
“I kind of knew they were going to play me tough like the last time (69-52 loss to St. John’s on February 5). At times, it was getting frustrating and we weren’t running our offense,” Droesch said. “I just needed my team to step up and score tonight.”
The Eagles solved their first half offensive woes by getting the ball inside to Ress because it provided more scoring opportunities according to Inglese.
“We did a better job inside than we did last time (St. John’s first loss). We got a real good inside game with Katherine, Brooke (Queenan) and Lisa (Macchia). They’re all capable and playing with much more confidence,” Inglese said.
The Eagles have recovered from the loss of their leading scorer Jessalyn Deveny (17.1 ppg), who was injured against St. John’s on February 5, according to Inglese. She was worried about a letup after their huge 51-48 win over defending champion UCONN at home last Saturday but it didn’t turn out to be the case.
“Even tonight, we look at the win like it’s just another win. At this point of the season, we need wins,” Droesch said. “A lot of teams are playing us with different types of schemes and we need to step it up.”
On Sunday, Droesch will take the first step to hopefully repeat as Big East champions but the co-captain knows that she can’t do it alone.
“We’re not going to win if our whole team doesn’t step. All 11 of us have to come out to play, even the player on the bench and if we don’t, we’re not going to win,” Droesch said.
Rockaway Cheers For Clare
There has been no one prouder of Clare’s efforts on the court than parents George and Patrica Droesch. For George Droesch, he will miss the excitement of coming to the games once Boston College is eliminated from the NCAA Tournament.
“We’re going to miss it. Actually we’re feeling it right now that we’re not going to be traveling together. This has been real fun”, George Droesch said. “We’ve been to sweet 16’s the last couple of years and they had a really good run but hey we still got a good shot this year.”