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Bailey Greenberg wants to help Drexel jump from the WNIT to the Big Dance | Season preview

The Dragons have played in the WNIT eight times since their last NCAA Tournament bid.

Bailey Greenberg is the Dragons' leading returning scorer.
Bailey Greenberg is the Dragons' leading returning scorer.Read moreDAVID MAIALETTI / Staff Photographer

It was right there for the Drexel women's basketball team.

The Dragons had won the Colonial Athletic Association regular-season title and were playing the CAA tournament at home in the Daskalakis Athletic Center. They had won eight straight, and the only thing between them and a 2018 NCAA Tournament bid was an Elon team with which they had split games during the regular season.

Drexel lost and headed to the Women's NIT for the fourth consecutive season.

"Through the season, that was the only home game we lost," Dragons junior forward Bailey Greenberg said. "Losing it definitely kind of stunk because we had done all of that hard work. We were regular-season champions with James Madison.

"We didn't get the outcome we wanted, but this year will hopefully be different."

Much of that could depend on how much Greenberg is able to elevate her role.

More in this series: Eric Paschall's job is to help things stay the same at Villanova | La Salle's Jeryn Reese looks to regain scoring touch in senior season | Lamarr Kimble is back leaner and ready to lead St. Joe's | Eleah Parker, fresh off rookie-of-the-year season, is looking to lead Penn women's basketball | Pookie Powell, back for one more season, is looking to win at La Salle

The 5-foot-11 forward from Archbishop Wood started 68 straight games in her first two seasons and returns as Drexel's leading scorer at 11.6 points per game. She was a second-team All-CAA selection last season.

"I think it's just a matter of me doing whatever I can do to help the team," said Greenberg, who established a career high in points six times last season. "We really do try to play as one.

"We really don't have any particular go-to-player. I think we all just kind of complement each other, and that makes it really fun to play together.

"I might have to step up a little more, but I'll also have my teammates around me doing the same thing. I might have to take a few more shots, rebound more, but defense will be a very big part, as well."

The Dragons return junior Aubree Brown and sophomore Hannah Nihill to join Greenberg, but second-team All-CAA choice Kelsi Lidge is gone.

That will put Greenberg into more of a vocal leadership role.

"Our system, especially on defense, requires a lot of communication," she said. "When you're a freshman, you are hit with so many things, and it's like, this is impossible.

"As the years go on, it gets easier because you understand what you are being told to do and it comes together."

Greenberg concedes that she is not the get-in-your-face type of player, and becoming "more vocal could definitely use some improvement."

"I tried to be vocal last year, but we had Kelsi and she was a great leader. My freshman year, I was just learning and it's hard to be vocal then.

'It's not something that is unnatural for me, but it's at the point now where I've got no other choice. My motto is 'kind of don't think about it; just do it.' "

The last time Drexel went to the NCAA Tournament was 2009. Since then, the Dragons have been in the WNIT eight times, winning it in 2013.

Greenberg said the goal this season is to get Drexel back to the big dance.

"I think the older players will all share in the responsibility," Greenberg said. "The one thing I need to bring to the team is the consistency that the seniors last year brought.

"I think as long as we play consistent and remain positive, we can do really well. I think we can do very well in the CAA. Our coaches are very smart and have a great strategy. As long as we listen to them and do what we do best, we'll be in good shape.

“It would be really cool for us to get Drexel back to the NCAA Tournament again.”