|Emily Sheehan||Emily Shurina||Bridget Monaghan|
SCRANTON, Pa. – The No. 2 University of Scranton women's basketball team (8-0) opened up a 32-point halftime lead and rolled to a 95-43 victory over the Elmira Soaring Eagles (2-6) in the opening round of the Hilton Scranton Poinsettia Classic on Wednesday night at the John Long Center in Scranton.
Misericordia defeated Salisbury by an 85-76 score in the other opening round contest and the Lady Royals will meet the Cougars in the championship game of the annual tournament on Thursday at 7 p.m.
The 95 points are a season-high for Scranton and the most the team has scored since a 98-94 overtime win versus Moravian on Jan. 17, 2018.
Senior guard Emily Sheehan (Dunmore, Pa./Dunmore) scored 18 points to lead the way offensively for the Lady Royals and was joined in double figures by sophomore Emily Shurina (East Meadow, N.Y./East Meadow) who hit four threes en route to 14 points and freshman Bridget Monaghan (Florham Park, N.J./Morristown-Beard) who added 11 points. Junior Taylor Rodriguez (Wayne, N.J./Wayne Hills) added nine points off the bench, while freshman Hannah Angelini (Baldwin Place, N.Y./Somers) and senior Makenzie Mason (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks West) had seven apiece.
Taylor Johnson paced Elmira with 10 points and Alyssa Waters tallied nine points of her own.
Scranton scored the first 11 points of the game on the strength of a trio of three-pointers from Mason, Sheehan and Shurina. A layup from Waters brought Elmira within five at 13-8 with 3:38 to play in the first quarter, but the Lady Royals closed the opening stanza on a 14-0 run capped by a fastbreak layup from Rodriguez. Head coach Nick DiPillo's squad was able to extend the lead to 30 plus points in the second quarter and a layup from senior Sofia Recupero (Whitestone, N.Y./Saint Francis Prep) made it a 48-17 game with 1:52 left in the first half. The Lady Royals took a 50-18 lead into the locker room after a basket from Sheehan in the final minute.
Sheehan hit a layup in the early stages of the third quarter to kickstart a 25-4 run and a pair of free throws from sophomore Carly Heineman (Abington, Pa./Gwynedd Mercy Academy) stretched the lead to 75-22 with 2:33 to play in the third quarter. Sheehan had seven points during the run, while Shurina hit a pair of threes and the Lady Royals led 81-25 after three quarters. Monaghan's layup extended the lead to 86-25 with 9:01 to play and the two teams traded baskets for the remainder of the contest.
The Lady Royals shot 50% (35-of-70) from the floor and connected on 13-of-27 (48.1%) from beyond the arc, while limiting Elmira to 29.8% shooting (17-of-57) from the field and 23.5% (4-of-17) from deep. Scranton held a 47-36 edge in rebounding led by seven rebounds from sophomore Danielle McCurdy (Philadelphia, Pa./Archbishop Ryan) and five apiece from Mason and Rodriguez.
The University of Scranton women's basketball team will host Misericordia in the championship game of the Hilton Scranton Poinsettia Classic on Thursday night at 7 p.m.