|Alexix Roman||Sarah Payonk||Bridgette Mann|
SELINSGROVE, Pa. - A rally by the University of Scranton women's basketball team in final two and a half minutes of play finally put away a tough Susquehanna squad on Wednesday night, as the Lady Royals surged to a 70-60 victory on the road in Landmark Conference play.
With the victory, Scranton - ranked 21st by D3Hoops.com and 17th by the WBCA - improved to 21-3 overall on the year and 10-3 in the Landmark Conference. With the win, Scranton finishes the regular season unbeaten on the road (12-0), as they now have not lost a road game since January 17, 2015 (27 games straight).
The win also assured that Scranton will finish no further than third in the final Landmark Conference standings, regardless of the outcome on the final regular season game of the season at home against Goucher on Saturday.
Susquehanna fell to 14-9 overall and 5-7 in the Landmark with the defeat.
To open play on the night, Susquehanna came out and took a 19-14 lead on the Lady Royals after the first quarter, then quickly extended the edge out to eight points (22-14) early in the second.
Here, Scranton began to find some rhythm on offense, racing on an 8-2 run to cut the Susquehanna lead down to two points (25-23) with over two minutes left in the first half.
Despite Susquehanna going back up five (28-23), Scranton ended the half strong, as a 10-2 flurry over the final two minutes gave the Lady Royals a 33-30 lead at intermission.
Scranton proceeded to carry the momentum they built at the end of the first half to start the third quarter, as a quick 8-0 run gave the Lady Royals their biggest lead of the night at 41-30 with 6:59 left in the period.
Susquehanna, however, fought back, outscoring Scranton 16-6 over the final six minutes to cut the Lady Royals lead down to just a single point (47-46) entering the final period.
The beginning of the fourth quarter was reminiscent of the start of the third, as a 10-2 Scranton run gave the Lady Royals a 57-48 edge with 7:35 left in regulation. The host Riverhawks, however, roared back, as an 8-0 rally cut the Scranton lead down to a point yet again, at 57-56 with 3:49 to go.
A three by a returning freshman guard Emily Sheehan (Dunmore, Pa./Dunmore) gave the Lady Royals some cushion at 60-56 with 3:30 left, but two made free throws by the Riverhawks with 2:40 to go cut the Scranton lead in half at 60-58.
Here, Scranton went on a scoring run that finally put Susquehanna away for the night, as an 8-0 flurry gave the Lady Royals the lead for good at 68-58 with 1:37 left. It was too much for the the host Riverhawks to come back from, as Scranton came out with a 10-point victory on the road.
Overall, Scranton was led in the scoring column yet again by senior forward Alexix Roman (Hawley, Pa./Wallenpaupack), who finished with a game-high 25 points on 11-of-14 shooting from the floor.
Roman, who also pulled with six rebounds in the win, has now led Scranton in the scoring column in six of the last eight games, scoring at least 20 points for the ninth time on the year in the victory.
Meanwhile, fellow senior forward Sarah Payonk (Schwenksville, Pa./Spring-Ford) has 12 points (on 6-of-8 shooting), while dishing out eight assists and pulling down six rebounds. In the final two minutes of the ballgame, Payonk and Roman scored the final 10 points of the game for Scranton, as well (Roman with six, Payonk with four).
Sophomore guard Bridgette Mann (Canadensis, Pa./Wallenpaupack) rounded out the double-digit scorers for Scranton with 10 points (with nine rebounds), while freshman forward Sofia Recupero (Whitestone, N.Y./Saint Francis Prep) came off the bench and added eight points to round out the top performers on the night.
The University of Scranton women's basketball team hosts Goucher in their 2016-17 regular season finale on Saturday at 1 p.m. inside the Long Center, as the program will honor its Senior class before the game, as well.