|Alexix Roman||Noelle Alicea||Sarah Payonk|
|Jaclyn Gantz||Trevor Woodruff|
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. – Junior forward Alexix Roman (Hawley, Pa./Wallenpaupack) had 22 points and The University of Scranton women's basketball team used a strong final three minutes to defeat The College of New Jersey, 59-53, on Saturday afternoon in the opening round of the Morgan Stanley Tip-Off Tournament at DeSales.
Scranton (1-0) finished the game on a 10-3 run that turned a 50-49 deficit with 3:40 to play into a victory. The Lady Royals made six of eight free throw attempts down the stretch and held the Lions to just one field goal over the final 3:30, a meaningless 3-pointer with 12 seconds to play.
The victory was the first for Lady Royals head coach Trevor Woodruff as a head women's basketball coach. He took over this fall after spending the previous 11 years as a head men's basketball coach.
Roman finished the game 10-for-12 from the field and 2-for-3 from the free throw line. She added seven rebounds and two assists.
Senior guard Noelle Alicea (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown East) had a strong all-around game, finishing with eight points, 10 rebounds and three assists, and junior forward Sarah Payonk (Schnecksville, Pa./Spring-Ford) had eight points, seven assists and six rebounds.
Scranton jumped out to a 15-8 lead after the first quarter, but the Lions scored the final 10 points of the first half to take a 23-22 lead into the locker room. Roman had eight points at the break, but the Lady Royals committed 12 turnovers and went just 2-for-10 from 3-point range in the opening two quarters.
The Lady Royals cut back on the turnovers after the break, committing just four over the final 20 minutes, helping them score 37 second-half points. After leading 44-40 after three quarters, Scranton found itself in a back-and-forth game throughout the fourth quarter before the finishing run that secured the win.
For the game, Scranton went 23-for-51 (45.1 percent) from the field, including 5-for-18 (28.7 percent) from 3-point range. Senior guard Jaclyn Gantz (Havertown, Pa./Haverford) canned a pair of 3-pointers en route to eight points.
The Lady Royals will face the host DeSales in Sunday's championship game at 4 p.m. The Lady Bulldogs defeated Widener, 84-66, in Saturday's first game.