|Makenzie Mason||Bridgette Mann|
The Road to the 2019 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Final Four rolls through Scranton this weekend, as the ninth-ranked Lady Royals host NCAA Sectional Round action in the John Long Center beginning Friday evening at 5 p.m.
At 5 p.m. Friday, fourth-ranked Tufts (27-2) will take on seventh-ranked Messiah (28-1) in the first Third Round match-up of the evening. Then, at 7 p.m., host Scranton (27-2) takes on Christopher Newport (25-5). The winners of both games will then move into Saturday's Quarterfinal round tilt that will begin at 6 p.m., with the victor headed to the Final Four in Salem, Va. next weekend.
Fans coming to the Long Center are reminded that tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for students & children (ages 2 & up) and seniors over the age of 61. Children under the age of two will be admitted at no charge. Door will open at 3:45 p.m. at the Long Center on Friday and 4:45 on Saturday
Also, fans can purchase tickets on Friday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Long Center lobby. This will be a cash only sale.
And, fans are also reminded that the Reddington Hall parking lot next to the Long Center will be CLOSED on Friday due to a campus event. The public is directed to park in the garage on 350 Monroe Avenue Friday (the Reddington lot will reopen for the game on Saturday).
Scranton, winners of eight straight games, play in a familiar spot on Friday night in the Sweet 16, as they make an appearance in the round for the fourth straight season and the fifth time in the last six years. The Lady Royals are also just one of six teams nationally to play in the Sectional Round four years in a row, joining Tufts, Thomas More, Amherst, St, Thomas and their opponent on Friday night, Christopher Newport.
In the opening round of the NCAA Tournament last weekend in Scranton, the Lady Royals breezed through New England College in the First Round, 69-49, then gutted out a tough 59-46 victory over Johns Hopkins in the Second Round.
In the opening round game against New England College, junior Makenzie Mason (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks West), the Landmark Conference Player of the Year, led the way with a double-double (16 points, 11 rebounds), while in the Johns Hopkins win, senior guard Bridgette Mann (Canadensis, Pa./Wallenpaupack) tallied 19 points in a Scranton win.
But, in both contests, it was the Scranton defense that carried the Lady Royals over the finish line, as they held both New England College and Johns Hopkins to under 50 points, a feat Scranton has accomplished 19 times throughout the course of the 2018-19 season.
The Lady Royals defense, however, will be tested by a strong Christopher Newport offense on Friday night, as The Captains rank 13th nationally averaging 77.3 points per game on the season.
Last week, CNU traveled to Gettysburg and upset the host Bullets in the First Round (82-78), before rolling past Mount St. Mary's (N.Y.) in the Second Round (79-52). The Captains, winners of the Capital Athletic Conference, are in the Sweet 16 for the sixth time in the last seven seasons, as well.
Scranton and Christopher Newport last met in the NCAA Third Round back on Mar. 11, 2016 in the Long Center, as the Lady Royals coasted past the Captains in an 82-46 victory that propelled the Lady Royals to the Elite 8 for the first time since the 2008-09 season.
Friday's other Third Round match-up features fourth-ranked Tufts, champions of the NESCAC, and seventh-ranked Messiah, champions of the MAC Commonwealth. The game is a rematch of a 2018 Third Round game also played in the Long Center, in which Tufts was victorious, 70-39.
Winners of eight games in a row, Tufts finds themselves in the Sweet 16 for the eighth straight season, as the Jumbos play in the Long Center in the Sectional Round for the third time in the last four years. Tufts rolled past Western New England in the First Round, 70-44, before rallying to a 52-46 win over Haverford in the Second Round.
Messiah, meanwhile, are winners of 28 straight games, the longest winning streak in the country. The Falcons, who lost their first and only game of the year at York in November (69-66), bested Hilbert (71-60) and Baldwin Wallace (64-51) last week in opening round games held on the Messiah campus.
For more information on this weekend's NCAA Tournament Sectional Round games in Scranton, check out the game notes for the weekend by clicking here.
Fans are also reminded that a live video stream will be available for both games on Friday and Saturday's quarterfinal game by clicking here. The voice of the Lady Royals Dean Corwin will be on the play-by-play call for all three games in Scranton.