|Makenzie Mason||Sofia Recupero|
SCRANTON, Pa. – The University of Scranton women's basketball team (24-4) fell just short against Endicott (19-10) in a 65-56 setback to the Gulls in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Friday night at the John Long Center in Scranton.
Endicott advances to Saturday's second round matchup where they will play Christopher Newport who topped Widener by a score of 82-66 in Friday's earlier game.
Senior Sofia Recupero (Whitestone, N.Y./St. Francis Prep) led the Lady Royals with 13 points and six rebounds in the contest, while classmate Makenzie Mason (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks West) added 12 points and nine rebounds for the hosts. Freshman Bridget Monaghan (Florham Park, N.J./Morristown-Beard) tallied nine points.
Kaleigh Putnam paced Endicott with a game-high 22 points and was one of four Gulls in double figures. Mikaela Rogers added 15 points and six rebounds off the bench.
Scranton led 4-2 in the very early stages of the game, but Endicott answered with a 14-2 run to take a 16-6 lead with 1:13 left in the first quarter and led 16-8 after one quarter. The Lady Royals battled back and a layup from freshman Kyra Quigley (Drexel Hill, Pa./Sacred Heart Academy Bryn Mawr) cut the lead to three at 23-20 with 4:02 left in the second quarter. Mason buried a three to tie the game at 25 apiece with a tick over three minutes left in the half, but Endicott went on a quick 5-0 spurt and took a 33-29 lead into the locker room.
The Lady Royals scored four of the first six points in the third quarter and a layup from Recupero cut the lead to two at 35-33 at the 8:45 mark of the quarter. The two teams traded baskets for a majority of the quarter and Endicott led 47-42 with two minutes left before Recupero hit consecutive layups to bring the lead back to one at 47-46. Rogers hit a layup on the other end and converted the three-point play in the final seconds of the quarter to make it a 50-46 game after three. Scranton wouldn't go down without a fight, but Endicott was able to hold at least a five-point lead for most of the fourth quarter. The Lady Royals cut the lead to five on a few occasions, but a jumper from Rogers pushed Endicott ahead by seven at 58-51 with 3:28 left.
Head coach Nick DiPillo's squad shot 39.6% (21-of-53) from the floor and 2-of-8 (25.0%) from deep, while Endicott was 23-of-55 (41.8%) from the field and 7-of-12 (58.3%) from three-point range. The Lady Royals were 12-of-22 (54.5%) from the free-throw line and Endicott was 12-of-16 (75.0%).
The game marked the final contest in a Scranton uniform for the decorated senior class of Mason, Recupero, Emily Sheehan (Dunmore, Pa./Dunmore) and Lily Warhaftig (Harlem, N.Y./Poly Prep). Over the last four seasons, the quartet of seniors posted a 107-13 (.892) record, won four Landmark Conference championships and appeared in four NCAA Tournaments including a Final Four appearance a season ago.