The University of Scranton women's basketball will host Juniata on Saturday afternoon in the Landmark Conference championship game as the Lady Royals and Eagles square off for the third time this season with the conference title and an automatic bid the NCAA Tournament on the line. Opening tipoff of Saturday's title game is set for 3:00 p.m. in the Long Center.
Admission is free for all students, faculty and staff with University ID. Admission for all others is $5 for adults (ages 18-61), $3 for seniors (ages 62 and older) and $3 for students (ages 11-17) while children 10 and younger are admitted free of charge. Anyone with an ID from a Landmark Conference institution will also be admitted free of charge.
Scranton is seeking its sixth Landmark Conference championship and 24th conference title in program history. The Lady Royals, who will be making their 10th appearance in the 11 seasons of Landmark Conference women's basketball competition, have claimed three of the last four Landmark Conference crowns. Scranton is also looking to three-peat for the first time since the Lady Royals won six straight conference championships from 2004-2009.
Top-seeded Scranton (25-1), winners of 20 games in a row, advanced to Saturday's championship game with a 67-45 victory over #4 Moravian in a semifinal matchup on Wednesday night. The Lady Royals, who are currently ranked 11th in the nation, dominated the second half to pull away from the Greyhounds, outscoring the visitors 37-18 in the final 20 minutes of play including a 33-8 surge over a 16-minute span to break open a tight contest.
Like Scranton, second-seeded Juniata (22-4) also used a dominant second half on Wednesday night to punch its ticket to the championship game. Trailing by two points at halftime, the Eagles outscoring #3 Elizabethtown 47-22 over the final two period to earn a 78-55 victory over the Blue Jays.
Juniata is making its fourth trip to the Landmark Conference championship game and first since 2012. The Eagles won their lone Landmark Conference title on 2011 by defeating Scranton 67-48 in the title contest.
Saturday's championship game will be a rubber match between Scranton and Juniata as the teams split the regular season series with the home team emerging victorious in both contests. The Eagles dealt the Lady Royals their only setback of the season with a 62-54 win on December 2 in Huntingdon before the Scranton posted a 62-45 victory in the Long Center on February 3.
The Lady Royals lead the all-time series with Juniata 39-9 including wins in 11 of the last 12 meetings between the two sides. Scranton also won the last postseason matchup between the squads, a 74-53 victory over the Eagles in the 2013-14 Landmark Conference semifinals.
Junior guard Bridgette Mann (Canadensis, Pa./Wallenpaupack) paced Scranton with 15.7 points per game this season to go along with a team-high 85 assists. Senior forward Katie Feehery (Media, Pa./Cardinal O'Hara) averages a team-best 6.6 rebounds per game while also leading the Lady Royals with 38 blocked shots.
Sophomore guard Emily Sheehan (Dunmore, Pa./Dunmore) paces the squad with 24 steals while sophomore forward Makenzie Mason (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks West) has been a versatile threat for Scranton, ranking second on the team in scoring, rebounding, assists, steals, and blocked shots.
Senior guard Dani Atkinson leads Juniata's offensive with 14.5 points per game while sophomore forward Morgan Instone also averages double-figures with 11.7 points per contest. Instone also paces the Eagles with 7.7 rebounds per contest and has blocked a Landmark Conference-high 63 shots on the season.
Atkinson has collected a team-high 56 steals and is tied for the team-lead in assists with senior guard Bethany Spencer, both of whom have dished out 53 helpers on the season.
The winner of Saturday's title game will earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament while the loser will have to await a potential at-large bid in the field which will be announced via an NCAA Selection Show on Monday at 2:30 p.m.
Links for live coverage of Saturday's championship game are available by clicking here.
Media notes for Saturday's championship matchup can be viewed by clicking here.