Editor's Note: Updates to include the Lady Royals' Sweet 16 opponent and a link to the postgame press conference.
The University of Scranton women's basketball team used a strong second half on Saturday evening to defeat Cabrini 55-46 in the Long Center to advance to the Sweet 16 for the third year in a row. The 10th ranked Lady Royals improve to 28-1 on the season with their 23rd consecutive victory.
Scranton's Sweet 16 appearance is also the 21st trip in program history including four of the last five seasons.
Scranton will face the #5 Bowdoin (26-2), a 79-57 winner over FDU-Florham, next Friday in the Sweet 16 at a location and time yet to be determined. It will be the third time the teams meet in the Sweet 16, having split the previous two meetings between each other. The Polar Bears won in the 2004 Sweet 16, 71-58 while the Lady Royals avenged that setback a year later in the same round with a 49-43 triumph.
Scranton, which trailed at halftime for just the third time this season, outscored Cabrini 33-21 in the second half to pull away with the victory led by Makenzie Mason (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks West), who posted game-highs of 16 points, nine rebounds, and four assists to go along with four blocked shots.
Cabrini came out with the hot hand early, making six three-pointers in the first 12:35 of the contest to hold a 21-12 lead with 7:25 remaining in the second quarter. The Cavaliers led 14-12 at the end of the first quarter before scoring the first seven points of the second stanza.
Faced with a nine-point deficit, Scranton battled back to cut its deficit to 25-22 at halftime.
Mason gave the Lady Royals their first lead of the night, 28-27 on a layup two and a half minutes into the third quarter before Cabrini went back in front on a three-pointer. Scranton countered with an 13-2 surge over the next six minutes of game time to claim a 41-32 lead with 9:39 left in regulation as Katie Broderick (New Fairfield, Conn./New Fairfield) drained a three-pointer to open the fourth period after Sheehan knocked down a trey to close the third quarter.
The three-pointers from Broderick and Sheehan would be the only shots that Scranton would make from beyond the arc all night.
Cabrini twice narrowed the deficit to four points in the fourth quarter, but the Lady Royals 6-8 from the free throw line down the stretch to pull away with the win.
Scranton controlled the game inside game, outscoring the Cavaliers 28-12 in the paint while holding a 39-28 advantage in rebounding.
The Lady Royals finishing the contest shooting 44.4 percent from the field while going 20 percent from three-point range and 72.2 percent from the free throw line.
Meghan Matthews paced Cabrini with 14 points to go along with a game-high four steals.
The Cavaliers shot 26.2 percent from the floor including a 33.3 percent showing from long range and a 70 percent effort at the charity stripe.
Cabrini ends its season with 26-3 record as Scranton snapped the Cavaliers' 24 game winning streak. The Lady Royals bookended Cabrini's streak with a 57-41 win in Radnor on November 29 followed by Saturday night's victory in the Long Center.