WASHINGTON – Behind a stifling defensive effort that held Merchant Marine Academy to only eight field goals and 17% shooting, CUA downed the Mariners 67-39 on Saturday afternoon. The Cardinals forced 26 turnovers and held USMMA without a made 3-pointer en route to their 18th win of the season.
CUA honored its lone senior, Holly Janicki, prior to the game. The St. Petersburg, Florida native sank two 3-pointers in front of a large contingent of family and friends and went out a winner in her final regular season home game.
Trailing 4-3 with 16:35 to play in the first half, CUA ripped off an 18-0 run to surge in front 21-4 with 7:25 on the clock.
Janicki splashed a 3-pointer with 5:06 to play before halftime to extend the Cardinal lead to 26-5, and after Liz Briones got inside for a layup at the 3:26 mark, CUA was again in front by 21.
USMMA closed the half on an 8-2 run though, cutting the Cardinals lead to 13 at the break.
Jill Woerner sank a jumper on CUA's first possession after halftime, and Emily Grabiak followed with a 3-pointer to extend to an 18-point advantage with 18:26 to play in the game.
Katarina Owunna's basket with 15:50 remaining put CUA in front by 19, but the Mariners scored five straight to cut it to 14.
An old-fashioned three-point play by Owunna at the 12:40 mark pushed the lead back to 19, and after Woerner completed a three-point play of her own, the Cardinals were on top by 21.
Claire McEvily then scored four straight points for CUA, and the Cardinals went in front by 25 with 10:30 to play.
CUA newcomer Dana Coronato came off the bench late and drilled two 3-pointers as the lead reached as many as 29 points in the final minutes.
Owunna finished with a double-double for CUA, scoring 13 points and pulling down 10 rebounds, while Woerner scored 10, to move her within 19 points of 1,000 for her career.
Rachel Ferri handed out a team-high six assists for the Cardinals, while Karlyn Dixon totaled four of her own. CUA finished with a very impressive 22 assists on 24 field goals, and held a 28-5 lead in points off turnovers.
No Merchant Marine player scored in double figures, but Rebecca Resor pulled down a game-high 12 rebounds. The Mariners shot just 15% in the opening half and 21% after halftime, and also committed 26 turnovers.
CUA closes out the regular season with three consecutive road games, beginning with a trip to Huntingdon, Pa. on February 10 to face first place Juniata. Tip-off is set for 5:30 p.m.
Holly Janicki and Head Coach Matt Donohue give their thoughts on CUA's Senior Day down below.