|Makenzie Mason||Sofia Recupero|
SCRANTON, Pa. - Junior forward Makenzie Mason (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks West) scored a career-high 29 points to lead the way, as the top-seeded University of Scranton women's basketball team left no doubt in a commanding 84-54 win over fourth-seeded Moravian on Thursday night in the semifinals of the 2019 Landmark Conference Championships.
With the win, the Lady Royals (who are ranked ninth in the WBCA Top 25 and 12th in the D3Hoops.com Top 25), move to 24-2 overall for the year and advance to the Landmark Conference championship game for the seventh straight season.
The championship clash, which will be played on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. in the John Long Center, will pit the top-seeded Lady Royals against second-seed Elizabethtown, who also posted a convincing win in their semifinal game on Thursday, taking a 61-43 decision over third-seeded Catholic.
Moravian ends their season with the loss to Scranton, finishing the year with a 16-10 mark.
In the ballgame, Scranton trailed just once, as Moravian made the first basket of the game to go up, 2-0.
From there, the Lady Royals dominated, opening a 19-9 lead at the end of the first quarter. The second quarter saw Scranton hold a sizeable edge throughout, as the Lady Royals ended the half on a 9-2 spurt to open a 36-21 lead at the half.
To start the third quarter, Scranton put Moravian away for the night, as they eventually opened an insurmountable 48-28 lead with 6:13 left in the period. Still up by 20 entering the fourth (57-37), the Lady Royals continued to pour it on in the final period, scoring 27 more points in the last 10 minutes of regulation to take the game by 30 points.
The 84-point output for Scranton in the win was the best for the Lady Royals in a Landmark Conference playoff game since 2015, a 92-49 win over Susquehanna. On the defensive end, meanwhile, Scranton held Moravian to just 30 percent shooting from the floor, on their way to helping the Lady Royals collect their 23rd win of the year by double-figures.
Overall, Mason was dominant all night long in her 29-point performance. Ending the game shooting 11-of-16 from the floor and 6-of-7 from the free throw line, Mason also pulled down four rebounds, had a pair of assists, two blocks, and two steals, as well.
Elsewhere, Scranton's other double-digit scorer on the night was fellow junior Sofia Recupero (Whitestone, N.Y./Saint Francis Prep), who finished with a double-double scoring 14 points, while pulling down 11 rebounds. The double-double was Recupero's second of the year, as she also dished out four assists in the victory.
Rounding out the top scorers for Scranton was freshman Hannah Kowalski (Clarks Summit, Pa./Abington Heights), who came off the bench and chipped in with eight points. Overall in the win, Scranton did their damage on offense inside, as they outscored Moravian by a wide 46-24 margin inside the paint area.
Moravian was led in the defeat by Maddie Capuano, who finished with 16 points.
Scranton now sets their sights on trying to capture their fourth straight Landmark Conference title on Sunday against a hot Elizabethtown team, who comes into the championship game winners of eight straight games.
In the regular season, the team's spilt, with the visiting team winning each game. First, in E-Town on Jan. 5, Scranton rolled to a 66-53 win. But, on Jan. 26 in Scranton, the visiting Blue Jays came in and handed the Lady Royals a 64-56 defeat, which at the time was the first loss of the season for Scranton.
More information on Sunday's Landmark Conference championship game will be posted on Friday at athletics.scranton.edu.