|Makenzie Mason||Emily Sheehan|
For the seventh straight season, the University of Scranton women's basketball team will host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament beginning on Friday at the John Long Center in Scranton. The Lady Royals will begin their NCAA Tournament journey on Friday night at 7 p.m. as they host Endicott in the first round.
Scranton is also making its Division III-leading 33rd tournament appearance in program history.
The winner of the Scranton/Endicott matchup and the winner of Christopher Newport/Widener will meet in a second round game on Saturday at 5 p.m. with a berth in the Sweet 16 on the line.
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. Tickets will only be sold at the gate on both Friday and Saturday as there will be no advance ticket sales.
The first 200 University of Scranton students will receive free admission to Friday's game courtesy of Student Government. The game is a "White Out" and all fans are encouraged to wear white.
If you can't make it to the John Long Center this weekend, there will be a live video feed, live stats and audio feed that can be found on the Scranton women's basketball schedule page right here.
The Lady Royals (24-3) have won 12 straight entering play this weekend and are ranked 12th in the most recent Top 25 polls from D3Hoops.com and WBCA that were released earlier this week. Scranton captured their fifth straight Landmark Conference championship on Saturday with a 63-42 victory over Catholic.
Senior Makenzie Mason (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks West) was named Landmark Conference Player of the Year for the second straight year on Wednesday after averaging 14.1 points per game and 6.9 rebounds per game to lead the Lady Royals in both categories. Mason also earned All-Landmark First Team honors for the third straight season. The Doylestown, Pa., native has scored double-digit points in 11 straight games and is averaging 16.1 ppg while shooting 54.4% from the field during that stretch. Mason is the second player in Landmark history to be named Player of the Year in consecutive seasons after the Lady Royals' Megan Kopecki won the award in three straight years from 2009-11.
Fellow senior Emily Sheehan (Dunmore, Pa./Dunmore) garnered Defensive Player of the Year honors for the second straight year after leading a defensive unit that allowed just 52.6 points per game, which is tops in the Landmark Conference and tied for 16th nationally. Sheehan leads the team with 39 steals and the Lady Royals have allowed 60 points or less in 10 of their last 12 games. The senior guard also provided key contributions offensively as she is the team's second-leading scorer at 10.9 points per game and ranks fourth in the Landmark in three-point shooting at 37.7%.
The Lady Royals set program records this season in three-pointers made (216) and three-point attempts (648) and feature three of the top five long range shooters in the Landmark Conference. Sophomore Emily Shurina (East Meadow, N.Y./East Meadow) ranks third at 40.7%, while Sheehan sits fourth and freshman Bridget Monaghan (Florham Park, N.J./Morristown-Beard) ranks fifth at 36.9%.
Scranton's first round opponent, Endicott (18-10), is making their first ever appearance in the tournament after winning the Commonwealth Coast Championship as the No. 3 seed with a 74-57 victory over University of New England. The conference title also marked the first of any kind for the Endicott women's basketball program. The Gulls have won six straight entering the tournament and are led by senior Emily Pratt who is the team's top scorer at 15.3 points per game. Pratt is third in program history with 1,436 career points and is eight points shy of the second place scorer at 1,444 points.
Friday's other first round contest features Christopher Newport (23-4) and Widener (21-5).
Christopher Newport makes its third trip to Scranton in the last five years after running through the Captains Athletic Conference unbeaten and toppling York (Pa.) in the conference title game. This marsk the seventh NCAA Tournament appearance in eight seasons for CNU under head coach Bill Broderick. A season ago, the Captains advanced to the Sweet 16 where the Lady Royals outlasted CNU in a 57-56 thriller.
The Pride are in the field for the first time since 2013 after earning an at-large berth out of the MAC Commonwealth. Widener went 21-5 on the season and defeated three NCAA Tournament teams in Albright, Messiah and Rowan. The Pride are led by Devan Rimmer who averages 17.6% points per game and shoots 42% from three-point range, while head coach Alisa Kintner was named MAC Commonwealth Coach of the Year.
For more on this weekend's games, view the game notes right here.
A full bracket of the 2019-20 NCAA Division III Women's Basketball tournament can be found by clicking here.