|Alexix Roman||Bridgette Mann||Sarah Payonk|
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a game that was a defensive slugfest for 40 minutes, the 21st-ranked University of Scranton women's basketball team did just enough to get past host and 22nd-ranked Catholic on Saturday, as the Lady Royals gutted out a 46-44 win at the DeVour Center.
With the win, Scranton improved to 20-3 overall and 9-3 in the Landmark Conference, marking the fourth straight season in which they've won at least 20 games. The Lady Royals also cinched up a spot in the upcoming Landmark Conference Playoffs, which will begin on campus sites on February 22nd.
Catholic dropped to 20-3 on the year with the defeat and 11-1 in the Landmark with the defeat, which snapped a 11-game winning streak for the Cardinals.
To open the game, offense was tough to come by for both teams, as the ballgame was tied 6-6 five minutes in.
Here, Scranton went on a 7-2 spurt that put them up five (13-8) with 3:05 left. The five-point lead held for the Lady Royals throughout the rest of the quarter, as they entered the second up 17-12.
In the second quarter. Scranton controlled play, outscoring Catholic, 10-6, to open a 27-18 lead at the half. At one point in the frame, the Lady Royals led by 11 (27-16), their largest of the game to that point.
The run by Scranton in the second quarter proved to be critical as the game wore on in the second half, as Catholic never got back in the lead the rest of the game.
But, the Cardinals didn't go out quietly, outscoring Scranton 18-13 in the third quarter to slice the Scranton lead down to 40-36 entering the fourth.
The fourth quarter saw Catholic cut the Scranton lead down to just one point twice, the last coming with two minutes left at 45-44. But, as they did the entire game, the Lady Royal defense came up huge down the stretch, keeping the Cardinals off the scoreboard in the final two minutes of action.
With eight seconds left, senior forward Sarah Payonk (Schwenksville, Pa./Spring-Ford) was fouled and made one of two free throws to give Scranton a two-point lead. On Catholic's final possession of the game, they missed a lay-up, as Payonk collected a defensive rebound that clinched the road win for Scranton.
Overall, Scranton was led in the win by senior forward Alexix Roman (Hawley, Pa./Wallenpaupack), who scored in double-figures for the 18th time in 19 games, finishing with 15 points to match a game-high. Roman also pulled down seven rebounds in the victory.
Elsewhere, sophomore guard Bridgette Mann (Canadensis, Pa./Wallenpaupack) finished with 13 points, while Payonk had nine points, and pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds, along with three assists.
On defense, the Lady Royals were strong the entire game, holding Catholic to single-digit point outputs in the second and fourth periods. They also held the Cardinals to just 29.4 percent shooting from the floor in the win, as well.
The University of Scranton women's basketball team plays their final road game of the regular season on Wednesday night at Susquehanna. The Landmark Conference match-up gets underway at 7 p.m.