Stifling Defense Helps No. 3 Women's Basketball Cruise Past Wilkes, 78-42

Senior guard Emily Sheehan hit four threes as The University of Scranton women's basketball team picked up a 78-42 win over Wilkes on Sunday.
Senior guard Emily Sheehan hit four threes as The University of Scranton women's basketball team picked up a 78-42 win over Wilkes on Sunday.
Emily Sheehan  Emily Shurina Bridget Monaghan
Makenzie Mason Taylor Rodriguez


WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The No. 3 University of Scranton women's basketball team (4-0) put together a stifling defensive effort and cruised to a 78-42 win over the Wilkes Colonels (3-3) at the annual Cross-County Challenge at McGrane Gymnasium on the campus of King's College in Wilkes-Barre on Sunday afternoon.

Scranton held Wilkes to 11 points in the first half and 19.1% shooting (9-of-47) in the game. In fact, 20 of Wilkes' 42 points came from the free-throw line.

Sophomore Emily Shurina (East Meadow, N.Y./East Meadow) hit four triples en route to a game-high 13 points for the Lady Royals and was one of four players in double figures. Seniors Makenzie Mason (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks West) and Emily Sheehan (Dunmore, Pa./Dunmore) along with freshman Bridget Monaghan (Florham Park, N.J./Morristown Beard) all had 12 points apiece for head coach Nick DiPillo's squad. Sheehan connected on four threes, while Mason had 12 points and six rebounds in the win. Monaghan registered 12 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

Junior guard Taylor Rodriguez (Wayne, N.J./Wayne Hills) added nine points and a career-high seven steals for the Lady Royals. Rodriguez's seven thefts are the most by a Scranton player since Noelle Alicea tallied eight on Dec. 13, 2015 vs. Merchant Marine. 

Both Mason and Monaghan were named to the All-Tournament team after scoring in double figures in both games of the Cross-County Challenge. Scranton defeated King's 77-69 on Saturday evening in their first game of the annual event as Mason registered 17 points and 15 rebounds in that contest, while Monaghan tallied 12 points.

Macy Berryman paced Wilkes with eight points off the bench and Gabby Smicherko had seven.

The Lady Royals started the game on a 9-0 run capped by a Rodriguez layup with 6:37 to play in the first quarter. Vanessa Whitecavage got the Colonels on the board, but Scranton answered with an 8-0 spurt and a three-point play from Monaghan in the final minute made it a 17-2 game after one. The Lady Royals extended the lead in the second quarter as they opened the period on a 12-4 run and a trey from Shurina made it a 29-6 game with 3:09 to play before they took a 33-11 lead into the locker room.

Gianna Roberts hit a pair of free throws for Wilkes to cut the lead to 37-16 with 7:41 left in the third quarter, but Sheehan buried a three on the other end to kick start a 22-3 Scranton run and a pair of free throws from Monaghan stretched the lead to 40 at 59-19 in the final minute of the quarter. Sophomore Carly Heineman (Abington, Pa./Gwynedd Mercy Academy) hit two three-pointers and scored eight points for the Lady Royals in the fourth quarter en route to the 36-point win.

Scranton shot 41.2% (28-of-68) from the floor and connected on 12-of-29 (41.4%) from beyond the arc, while holding Wilkes to the afore-mentioned 19.1% shooting and 15.4% (4-of-26) from three-point range. The Lady Royals held a slight 43-39 edge in rebounding led by Monaghan's seven boards and six apiece from Mason and senior center Sofia Recupero (Whitestone, N.Y./Saint Francis Prep).

The University of Scranton women's basketball team will host Marywood in the team's 2019-20 home opener on Tuesday, Nov. 26 at 7 p.m.