Cardinals move into championship game after downing Thiel
WASHINGTON – CUA shook off a slow start to down Thiel 56-41 in the opening round of the CUA/Fairfield Inn Holiday Tournament on Friday inside the DuFour Center. The Cardinals used a 16-3 run early in the second half to pull away and earn their ninth consecutive win.
Leading 6-4 early on, CUA scored eight straight to open up a 14-4 lead with 12:55 to play before halftime. A Jill Woerner jumper with 8:40 on the clock pushed the lead to 11, but Thiel responded with six of the next eight points to cut it to a seven-point game.
Alexis Stenftennagel closed the first half scoring for the Cardinals when she splashed a jumper at the 2:09 mark to send CUA into intermission with a 26-15 advantage.
CUA led Thiel 32-23 with 16:22 remaining, before the Cardinals ripped off a 16-3 run, capped by a Holly Janicki layup, to up the lead to 47-26 with less than nine minutes to play.
Woerner's free throw at the 6:13 mark gave the Cardinals their biggest lead of the night at 22, and Thiel did not threaten for the remainder of the contest.
Brigid Gannon got into the scoring act for CUA, netting the Cardinals final points of the day with a layup in the final minute.
Woerner led the home team with 15 points on 5 of 10 shooting, to go along with nine rebounds, six steals and a pair of blocked shots. Kelli Josephsen finished with nine points, while Claire McEvily had a nice game off the bench, with eight points, five boards and three helpers.
CUA held a 26-12 advantage in points in the paint and the Cardinals converted 24 Thiel turnovers into 25 points.
The visitors were led by Kelly Muffley with 10 points and Kelly Barzak with 10 rebounds, but Thiel had a difficult time making free throws, hitting only 7 of 28 attempts (25%). The Tomcats also shot just 28% from the floor and 31% from beyond the three-point arc.
In the second game of the day, Washington College outlasted St. John Fisher 74-63. Three Shorewomen grabbed double-digit rebounds, led by Latisha Pledger with 15. She also added 15 tallies in the win.
That sets up a rematch of this year's opener when Washington College defeated CUA inside the DuFour Center. The two teams will meet on Saturday in the tournament championship with tip-off slated for 2 p.m. St. John Fisher and Thiel meet in the consolation game at noon.
Following the women's games, the CUA men will host MCLA at 4 with No. 24 Buffalo State and Wesleyan finishing the day off at 6.