|Sarah Payonk||Alexix Roman||Jaclyn Gantz|
SCRANTON, Pa. - Junior forward Sarah Payonk (Schwenksville, Pa./Spring-Ford) had a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds to earn Most Valuable Player honors, as the 16th-ranked University of Scranton women's basketball team trailed just once in a dominating 81-58 victory over Eastern on Wednesday afternoon at the John Long Center in the Championship Game of the 2015 Hilton Scranton Poinsettia Classic.
With the win, Scranton goes to 9-0 on the season, which is the best start for the Lady Royals to a campaign since 2003-04 (Scranton started 14-0 that year). Eastern fell to 7-2 with the defeat.
In the victory, Scranton wasted little time in taking a large lead, as the Lady Royals blitzed Eastern with an 18-4 run in the first six minutes of action. Scranton continued to play at a fast pace on both ends throughout the first period and entered the second ahead by 15 points at 25-10.
The roll continued for the Lady Royals in the second quarter, as they opened an insurmountable 31-12 lead three minutes into the period, and headed into the locker room after the first 20 minutes of play up by 20 at 41-21 at the break.
The second half was academic for Scranton, as the lead ballooned out to 26 points (56-30) halfway through the third quarter. From there, the Lady Royals coasted, notching their third straight victory by double-figures, sixth of which in their first nine games.
Overall, Payonk did a little bit of everything in the win.
With her 20 point, 10 rebound evening, Payonk notched her third double-double of the year. Meanwhile, she dished out six assists in the victory, posting 15 over the last two days in the Poinsettia Classic.
Elsewhere, fellow junior forward Alexix Roman (Hawley, Pa./Wallenpaupack) had 16 points and five rebounds, collecting a spot on the Hilton Scranton Poinsettia Classic All-Tournament team in the process. Rounding out the double-digit scorers for Scranton was senior guard Jaclyn Gantz (Havertown, Pa./Haverford), who finished with 13 points.
In the third place game of the Hilton Scranton Poinsettia Classic, Johnson & Wales (R.I.) rolled past Farmingdale State, 72-40.
The University of Scranton women's basketball team will now head to Las Vegas, Nev. for the 2015 Las Vegas Hoopla Tournament. On Sunday, the Lady Royals will take on Emory & Henry in their first game, which will start at 5 p.m EST.