|Makenzie Mason||Bridget Monaghan||Emily Shurina|
SCRANTON, Pa. – Senior Makenzie Mason (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks West) recorded her third straight double-double and The No. 14 University of Scranton women's basketball team (24-3) limited Catholic to 32.7% shooting as the Lady Royals captured their fifth straight Landmark Conference Championship with a 63-42 victory over the Cardinals (21-6) on Saturday afternoon at the John Long Center in Scranton.
Mason was named Landmark Conference Tournament MVP after registering 21 points and 12 rebounds in the win. The performance came on the heels of Mason's double-double in Wednesday's semifinal victory over Moravian.
This marks Scranton's fifth straight, eighth overall Landmark title and the 26th conference championship in program history.
The Lady Royals sealed the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Tournament with the win and the field of 64 will be announced on Monday afternoon at 2:30 p.m. The selection show will be streamed live on NCAA.com.
Scranton was able to limit Catholic to the afore-mentioned 32.7% shooting (16-of-49) and the 42 points are the Cardinals' second lowest scoring output of the season. This also marked the 10th time in the last 12 games that the Lady Royals have allowed 60 points or less.
Mason was one of three Lady Royals in double figures along with sophomore Emily Shurina (East Meadow, N.Y.) who buried four threes en route to 12 points and freshman Bridget Monaghan (Florham Park, N.J./Morristown-Beard) added 11 points.
Shurina has hit at least two three-pointers in five straight games and is shooting 51.7% (15-of-29) from long range during that stretch.
Sydney Poindexter was the lone Cardinal in double figures with 18 points on the afternoon.
Things were tied at four apiece with 6:33 left in the first quarter before Scranton closed the quarter on a 9-3 run and a layup from senior Lily Warhaftig (Harlem, N.Y./Poly Prep) made it a 13-7 game after one. The two teams traded baskets for most of the second quarter and a three-pointer from Mason stretched the lead to nine at 28-19 with 2:02 to play, but Catholic scored the final four points of the quarter to cut the lead to 28-23 at halftime.
Scranton started to take control of the game in the third quarter and senior Emily Sheehan (Dunmore, Pa./Dunmore) buried a three to take a double-digit lead for the first time at 36-26 at the 3:57 mark. Shurina connected on a pair of threes in the final two minutes of the quarter and the Lady Royals led 44-30 after three. Scranton held Catholic to just one field goal in the quarter on 12 attempts as six of the Cardinals' seven points in the period came at the free throw line. Catholic was unable to get any closer than 14 the rest of the way and Sheehan hit a three in the final minute to extend the lead to 23 at 61-38.
The Lady Royals shot 42.4% (25-of-59) from the floor and 8-of-30 (26.7%) from three-point range, while holding the Cardinals to the 32.7% shooting from the field and a 10.0% clip (1-of-10) from beyond the arc.
The University of Scranton women's basketball team will await to find out who and where they will play in the upcoming NCAA Tournament that will begin on Friday, March 6 at campus sites across the country. More information will be posted on athletics.scranton.edu as it becomes available.