By BLAKE TOPPMEYER
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
The Drury women's basketball team isn't an opponent teams want to face right now.
Quincy University found that out the hard way Thursday night.
Drury, fighting to be one of the 12 teams in the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament field, won for the third time in its last four games by downing the Lady Hawks 53-39 at Pepsi Arena.
"They're playing for something right now," QU coach Jeni Garber said. "I knew they'd come in with a lot of intensity and desire, and we were going to have to have a good game to combat that."
Instead, QU (13-9, 11-3 GLVC) responded with its lowest scoring output since a 64-36 loss at Indianapolis on Jan. 18, 2007. Quincy saw its lead over Maryville for first place in the GLVC's West Division shrink to one game.
Drury, meanwhile, would be in the conference tournament if it started today and is hitting its stride after suffering eight losses by a total of 26 points earlier this season.
"Somebody always told me you learn the most lessons through adversity," Drury coach Steve Harold said. "Well, we've had a lot of it. We ought to be a very smart team."
Quincy played without starting freshman guard Maggie Cunningham, who sat out after suffering a concussion in Saturday's game at Rockhurst, and reserve freshman center Erin Mennemeyer, who continues to recover after spraining her right knee last Thursday.
The Lady Hawks generally don't go very deep into their bench even at full strength and played only seven players Thursday.
"It doesn't matter who we put on the floor, we should perform better than what we did," Garber said.
QU scored less than 48 points for the third time in its last five games. Drury (11-11, 5-9) limited Quincy to 33.3 percent shooting. The Panthers shot only 41.5 percent themselves. Before Thursday, QU had been 13-0 when its opponent shot less than 42.5 percent from the field.
Kylie Williamson, who led all players with 11 rebounds and a career-high 22 points, made two free throws with 15 minutes, 11 seconds remaining in the second half to give Drury a 30-22 lead.
QU then switched to a zone defense and went on a 12-2 run, taking a 34-32 lead on Lucy Cramsey's two free throws with 9:12 to play. It was QU's first lead of the game.
Carly Beebe, who started in place of Cunningham, started the run with a conventional three-point play and later added a 3-pointer from the top of the key. She ended up with 11 points, matching Hannah Weedman for the team high.
Cramsey, who had nine points and eight rebounds, converted a conventional three-point play to give Quincy a 37-36 lead and then made a jumper from the left wing to tie the game at 39 with 7:13 remaining.
From there, the Panthers, who were ranked No. 1 in the West in the GLVC's preseason poll, played like the team they were expected to be all season long. In the final 6 ½ minutes, Quincy went 0 of 6 from the field, missed its only free-throw attempt and committed three turnovers.
On the other end, Drury senior Katie Pritchard showed why she was a first-team All-GLVC selection last season. She scored nine of the Panthers' final 17 points and finished with 14 points on 6-of-17 shooting.
"Pritchard is just a heck of a player," Garber said. "She didn't have her best shooting night, but when it mattered, she knocked them down. She's a tough player."
In QU's 68-62 win Jan. 19 at Drury, its top two scorers -- Cramsey and Kelly Buresh -- combined for 10-of-18 shooting, 29 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists.
This time around, they combined to go 3 of 17 from the field, grab 12 rebounds and tally two assists. Buresh, a prolific catch-and-release 3-point shooter, didn't score and had only three shot attempts.
"Williamson did a great job on Buresh," Harold said. "We didn't help off on her. We just stayed with the matchup.
"The games I looked at her stat sheets, when she scores like three to five points, they get 40 (points). When she scores 18 to 20 points, they get 70 and they don't lose."