SCRANTON, Pa. - A match-up between the two top teams in the Landmark Conference standings lived up to its billing, as visiting Catholic rallied in overtime to upset the third-ranked University of Scranton women's basketball team on Saturday, 82-76, inside the John Long Center.
With the defeat, Scranton dropped to 16-1 on the year and 5-1 in the Landmark Conference.
The Lady Royals also had their 50 game regular season winning streak snapped in the loss, as Scranton dropped their first game in the regular year in over two years on Saturday (their last loss, ironically, was at Catholic in January of 2015).
Catholic improved to 15-2 overall and 6-0 in the Landmark with the win.
In the opening frame, Scranton came out slow, falling behind the Cardinals early, 24-15. Scranton did outscore Catholic, 15-14, in the second quarter, but were behind most the period by a sizeable margin, as the Cardinals went into the break up 37-29 on the Lady Royals.
The struggles continued to Scranton in the third quarter, as the closest they came to the Catholic lead in the frame was four points (49-45 with 2:48 left), as the Cardinals continued to control action entering the fourth period, leading the Lady Royals, 54-48.
But, in the fourth quarter, the Lady Royals finally came to life offensively, as Scranton quickly scored six points in a row to tie the game for the first time all day at 54-all with eight minutes remaining in regulation.
The next five minutes of the contest were back-and-forth and was tied on four separate occasions. Midway through the quarter and with the game tied at 61-61, Scranton scored four points in a row to take the lead for the first time since early in the first period at 65-61 with 2:29 to go.
But, Catholic quickly bounced back, going on a 6-0 run on their own to grab the lead back at 67-65 with 1:47 left. On Scranton's next possession, senior forward Alexix Roman (Hawley, Pa./Wallenpaupack) scored two on a lay-up, tying the contest for the sixth time at 67-all.
After trading possessions in which both teams could not score, Catholic nailed two free throws after a Scranton foul to grab the lead back at 69-67 with 16 seconds to go.
Following a Lady Royals timeout, senior forward Sarah Payonk (Schwenksville, Pa./Spring-Ford) was fouled going to the basket. She proceeded to nail two free throws, tying the game back up at 69-all.
On Catholic's final possession of regulation, the Cardinals missed a lay-up that would've won it, sending the game to an extra frame in the process.
In the overtime period, Payonk nailed a jumper to quickly give Scranton the lead at 71-69, but Catholic attacked back with five points in a row to go up 74-71 with 3:36 left. Down 76-73 with 2:46 left, Scranton scored three straight points on free throws to tie the game for the ninth time on the day at 76-all with 1:25 left.
But, Catholic was able to keep the Lady Royals off the scoreboard the rest of the contest, as a lay-in with 1:02 left gave them the lead back (78-76), which was followed up by a Scranton turnover.
The Cardinals then converted four free throws in a row down the stretch to pull out the six-point victory in overtime.
Overall, Roman poured in a game and season high 28 points, recording her fifth double-double in her last six games by also pulling down 11 rebounds in the defeat, as well. Payonk also notched a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, and narrowly missed out on notching her second straight triple-double after finishing with nine assists.
Junior guard Katie Broderick (New Fairfield, Conn./New Fairfield) was Scranton's third double-digit scorer on the game, finishing with a career-high 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting from the floor. Catholic was led in the win by guard Michelle DeSantis, who had 22 points.
The University of Scranton women's basketball team returns to action on Wednesday, hosting Drew in another Landmark Conference contest inside the John Long Center. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m.