Photo: DU Athletics

Drury University turned up the defensive pressure and pulled away in their NCAA-II Elite Eight quarterfinals victory on Tuesday night as the number one ranked Lady Panthers forced 40 and beat Nova Southeastern 91-60 in Columbus, Ohio. The Lady Panthers advance to the NCAA-II semifinals on Wednesday and will play number five seed Lubbock Christian at 7:30 pm (Central).

“40 turnovers – that’s the magical number for us right there,” said Drury head coach Molly Miller. “I’m really proud of how we turned it up another notch with our defensive intensity.”

Drury led 21-15 after the opening quarter, but Nova Southeastern pulled within one point of the lead, 23-22 with 7:38 remaining in the first half. The Lady Panthers then outscored the Sharks 17-5 for the rest of the half to go ahead 40-27 at the break, then blew the game open in the next two quarters.

Hailey Diestelkamp scored a game-high 26 points on 10 for 19 shooting from the field with 17 of her points coming in the second half. Daejah Bernard had first double-double of the season scoring 10 points and grabbing a career-high 11 rebounds. The junior from St. Joseph, Missouri added seven assists and six steals.

The Lady Panthers win puts them in the national semifinals for the second time in program history and for the first time since 2004.

Wednesday’s Drury game will be broadcast live on the CBS Sports Network and JOCK 98.7 FM in Springfield.