|Makenzie Mason||Emily Sheehan||Bridget Monaghan|
SCRANTON, Pa. – The No. 1 seed University of Scranton women's basketball team (23-3) outlasted No. 4 seed Moravian en route to a 74-63 victory over the Greyhounds (15-11) in the Landmark Conference semifinals on Wednesday night at the John Long Center in Scranton.
This marks the fourth straight year that the Lady Royals have defeated Moravian in a semifinal matchup.
Scranton advances to the Landmark Conference Championship game on Saturday afternoon where they will host Catholic. Opening tip at the John Long Center is set for 3 p.m.
The Lady Royals are in search of the program's fifth consecutive conference championship after a 68-48 victory in last year's title game versus Elizabethtown.
Senior Makenzie Mason (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks West) had 22 points on 9-of-14 shooting and 10 rebounds to lead the way for Scranton, while classmate Emily Sheehan (Dunmore, Pa./Dunmore) added 15 points and freshman Bridget Monaghan (Florham Park, N.J./Morristown-Beard) tallied 13 points. Senior Sofia Recupero (Whitestone, N.Y./Saint Francis Prep) posted 10 points, eight rebounds and three blocks of her own.
Maddie Capuano hit eight three-pointers and a game-high 30 points to pace the Greyhounds and Nadine Ewald added 15 points of her own. However, Scranton was able to hold Ewald scoreless in the second half.
Moravian led 35-34 at halftime before Mason opened the scoring in the third quarter with a layup to kickstart an 11-2 run that gave the Lady Royals the lead for good. Sheehan buried a three to make it a 45-37 game with 5:44 left in the third.
The Greyhounds raced out to an early 8-2 lead, but Scranton quickly rallied and a late 7-1 spurt in the first quarter capped by a Mason layup tied things at 15 apiece after one. A triple from Sheehan opened up a 28-23 lead for the hosts at the 5:47 mark of the second quarter before Moravian embarked on a 10-0 run to take a 33-28 lead for the time being. Mason hit a layup in the final seconds to make it a 35-34 game at the half.
Following the afore-mentioned 11-2 run by the Lady Royals, Capuano sank consecutive threes to cut the lead back to two at 45-43 with 4:54 left in the third quarter. Scranton responded with a quick 10-3 run that included five points from Monaghan and led 55-49 after three. The Greyhounds were unable to get closer than six the rest of the way and senior Lily Warhaftig (Harlem, N.Y./Poly Prep) hit a pair of free throws in the final minute of regulation to stretch the lead to double digits.
Scranton shot 49.1% (26-of-53) from the floor and 52.4% (11-of-21) from three-point range; both percentages are the second-highest recorded by the team this season. Moravian was 23-of-55 (41.8%) from the floor and 12-of-23 (52.2%) from deep.
The Lady Royals and Catholic split a pair of meetings in the regular season with each team winning at home. Catholic won 65-62 on Jan. 18 in Washington, D.C. and Scranton held serve with a 65-52 victory on Feb. 8 in Scranton.
A full preview of Saturday's championship game will be posted on athletics.scranton.edu on Friday.