|Bridgette Mann||Alexix Roman|
|Katie O'Reilly||Noelle Alicea|
SCRANTON, PA. - Freshman guard Bridgette Mann (Canadensis, Pa./Wallenpaupack) scored a game-high 18 points, as the third-ranked University of Scranton women's basketball team pulled away from visiting WPI in the second half in a convincing 67-42 victory in the First Round of the 2016 NCAA Tournament on Friday night at the John Long Center.
With the win, Scranton, now 28-0 on the year, move into the Second Round of the Tournament, where they will take on Marymount at the Long Center on Saturday at 5 p.m. The Saints were 60-49 winners over Carbini in the opening First Round game in Scranton on Friday.
In the opening quarter, things started off slowly for Scranton, but they kept a slim lead throughout the period, entering the second up 17-11 on the Engineers. To start the second quarter, WPI fought back, slicing the Scranton lead down to two points on two separate occasions, including a 22-20 ledger with 3:52 left.
But, Scranton ended the first half strong, scoring the final seven points of the second quarter to race into the locker room up 29-20 on WPI.
In the third quarter, Scranton decided to turn up the pressure even more on the defensive end and knocked down some big shots on offense to put away WPI for good.
Up 33-23 with 7:42 left, the Lady Royals ended the quarter on a huge 16-7 run to go into the final period up by an insurmountable margin of 19 points at 49-30.
This run to end the period was spurred on by sophomore guard Katie O'Reilly (Montville, N.J./Montville), who came off the bench and nailed three straight three-pointers to effectively put away WPI for the rest of the evening.
In the fourth, the Lady Royals continued to pull away from the visiting Engineers, eventually taking a 30-point lead with 3:50 left at 65-35.
From there, the Scranton starters rested out the final minutes of the contest, as the Lady Royals rolled to the 64th victory in NCAA Tournament history all-time for the program and the 14th win of the year inside the Long Center by double-figures.
Overall, Mann did her damage in the win in the tough first half, where she scored 13 of her 18 points, nailing 3-of-5 three pointers in the first 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, junior forward Alexix Roman (Hawley, Pa./Wallenpaupack) did her work in the second half, scoring 10 points in the final 20 minutes to end with 16 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field. Rounding out the top scorers for Scranton was senior guard Noelle Alicea (Downingtown, Pa./Downingtown East), who finished with 13 points and a game-high five assists.
The star of the night, however, was the Scranton defense, which was dominant from the opening tip. In all, the Lady Royals forced the Engineers to shoot just 28.1 percent from the floor, as WPI did not score more than 12 points in a quarter in the victory.
Scranton will now set their sights to Marymount on Saturday with a spot in the Sweet 16 on the line in the contest. It will be the third meeting all-time between the schools, with Marymount taking the last decision in the NCAA Tournament in 2010, 57-41.
For more information on Saturday's Second Round Game at the Long Center, click here.