WASHINGTON – It certainly did not start out well, but in the end, No. 12/13 CUA (23-1, 12-1) pulled away from Goucher (6-17, 2-11) for a 61-43 win on Wednesday evening inside the DuFour Center. The victory gives the Cardinals school records in overall victories (23) and Landmark Conference wins (12). Junior Emily Grabiak played a terrific all-around game, finishing with 12 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 5 steals.
The two teams combined for only 12 points in the first 10 minutes until Katarina Owunna splashed a jumper to make it 8-6 CUA.
Baskets by Jenny McGann and Grabiak then put the Cards in front 12-6, but Sharnell Huff sank a 3-pointer for the Gophers to make it 12-9 with 5:42 to play before halftime.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Grabiak with less than three minutes to play put the Cards in front by 15, but Monique Welsh scored as the final seconds ticked off the clock to make it a 13-point spread at the half.
CUA came out in the second half and looked much crisper on offense, extending to a 19-point bulge on Kelli Josephsen's bucket with 17:29 remaining.
The lead reached 25 after Jill Woerner got inside for a layup with 16:05 to play, and Owunna's jumper with 10:54 to play made it a 26-point spread.
Goucher was able to hang around somewhat, pulling to within 17 on Adrienne Flowers' basket with 6:32 left, and then to within 15 after two free throws by Huff a minute later.
CUA scored the next four points however, and led by no fewer than 16 points for the remainder of the contest.
Grabiak was joined in double figures by Josephsen (12), Woerner (11), Owunna (10) and McGann (10), while Owunna led the rebounding effort with 12 boards.
The Cardinals handed out 22 assists on 27 made field goals, with Woerner sharing top honors with Grabiak (6).
Goucher shot only 28.8 percent from the floor, including 25 percent from beyond the arc, and the Gophers committed 20 turnovers.
Huff led the visitors with 18 points, but shot just 6 of 23 from the field.
On Saturday, CUA will welcome No. 23 Moravian to town for a 4 p.m. showdown on Senior Day. The Greyhounds dealt the Cardinals their lone loss of the season last month in Bethlehem.
The winner of Saturday's game will capture the Landmark Conference regular season championship and earn the No. 1 seed in next week's conference tournament.