Drexel men's and women's basketball teams making history in NCAA Tournaments

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- For the first time in school history, both the Drexel men and women are dancing!

This has never happened before with both teams in the NCAA tournament in the same season.

"Finally, it's the year of the Dragons! It's been so cool," Drexel Women's Basketball guard Hannah Nihill said.

"It's a great year to be a Drexel student, a lot of buzz on campus," Drexel Men's Basketball guard Matey Juric said.

Juric, who grew up in Canada, added the exposure is helping put Drexel on the bigger stage.

The men are in the dance for the first time in 25 years.

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The first thing they did after landing in Indianapolis, where they will face Illinois on Friday, was to tune into the women's conference title game. They watched the Drexel Women's team clinch their first NCAA tournament berth in 11 years. The men were the first to congratulate the women's team, as well.

"The celebration was great, and then it was go 'back to your dorm rooms.' It was different after a championship [due to protocols,] but it made me so happy," Drexel Women's Coach Amy Mallon said.

Over the last year, both teams have bonded.

For the most part, they have been the only students on campus, and only leaving their dorms for food, daily testing, practice and games. That's it.

To get this far is an accomplishment and rewarding.

"It's been an incredibly difficult year for all student athletes, tested every day to isolate the rest of the campus community," Juric said.

Drexel Men's Coach Zach Spiker said he credits the medical and training staff and school administrators for helping get through this challenging year.

"This year, being both on campus, there was a closer bond for what everyone is doing," Spiker said.

"Our team got together to watch all of their games," Nihill said from their team hotel in San Anontio.

They are each other's biggest cheerleaders!

"Go get em! Go dragons! I know you're going to do it," Mallon excitedly told Spiker while on a Zoom call with 6abc.

The Drexel men hope to watch the women beat Georgia in their first round game in San Antonio on Monday.

Mallon is one of only two head coaches to appear in the NCAA tournament in their first season; for Spiker, it's his first trip to March Madness as well since taking over their program.
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