CUA downs Scranton 47-40, will face Juniata for title
SCRANTON, Pa. – CUA will play for its first Landmark Conference Championship after the Cardinals downed Scranton 47-40 on Wednesday evening in the semifinals of the conference tournament. CUA limited the Royals to 28% shooting overall and 16 second half points en route to its 21st win, which ties the single season record.
The Cardinals trailed by two at halftime, 24-22, after shooting only 28% in the first half. But in the second half, CUA's defense took over, holding Scranton to 16 points and 13% shooting.
A Kelli Josephsen steal led to a Katarina Owunna basket down the other end to give the Cardinals a 27-26 lead with 18:10 to play in the game. Jill Woerner's jumper at the 15:14 mark made it a three-point CUA lead and Josephsen's basket with 12:05 on the clock extended it to a four-point advantage.
CUA held Scranton without a field goal for over five minutes, but could only increase its lead to six points, which came on an Owunna basket at the 8:14 mark.
Scranton battled back and pulled to within one on Christina Hiltunen's 3-pointer with 7:27 remaining, but from there, neither team scored for nearly four minutes.
With 3:42 to play, Erin Boggan got inside for a layup, and that put the Royals on top 40-39.
CUA went back in front on Jenny McGann's layup with 2:56 on the clock, and less than a minute later, Owunna added a basket of her own to make it 43-40.
Scranton could not score on its next possession and CUA took advantage, as Woerner sank two free throws with only 29 seconds to play to put the Cardinals in front by five.
Emily Grabiak's two free throws with under 10 seconds to go set the final margin at seven and sent CUA into its first-ever Landmark Conference Championship.
Owunna led CUA offensively with 12 points, and she also tied Josephsen for the team lead in rebounds with 11. McGann finished with 9 points, while Grabiak scored 8 and Holly Janicki added 5. Grabiak dished out a game-high 8 assists, while McGann tallied a pair of steals.
Sidney Jaques finished as Scranton's leading scorer with 11 points on 4 of 7 shooting, but no other Royal hit double figures. Boggan pulled down 11 rebounds and Hiltunen led the way with three assists.
Scranton led for the majority of the first 13 minutes, but CUA pulled ahead by four with 6:24 to play in the opening half when Owunna sank a pair at the line and Claire McEvily splashed a jumper.
Scranton scored the next eight to go on top 24-20, but Janicki answered with her second basket of the half to pull the Cardinals within two at the break.
CUA's 21 wins this season ties it with the 2003-04 squad that also won 21 games, for the most in program history. The Cardinals became the first team in Landmark Conference history to win a conference tournament game on the road.
CUA now moves onto its first Landmark Conference Championship where the Cardinals will meet the No. 10 ranked Juniata Eagles on Saturday, February 25 in Huntingdon, Pa. Tip-off is set for 2 p.m. Juniata went a perfect 14-0 in the conference this season, and defeated Moravian in the semifinals.