WASHINGTON – No. 13 CUA escaped with a 54-53 win over Susquehanna on Wednesday evening after the Crusaders (7-15, 2-9) missed two shots in the final 10 seconds. The Cardinals (21-1, 10-1) led by as many as 13 points in the second half, before Susquehanna pulled to within one on two free throws by Gina Palazzi with 1:09 remaining. Brianna Murphy then missed a pair of shots as the final seconds ticked off the clock.
CUA is now tied atop the Landmark Conference standings with Moravian, with identical 10-1 records. The Cardinals and Greyhounds meet in the regular season finale in Washington on Saturday, February 16.
Katarina Owunna's layup with 10:50 to play gave CUA a 46-33 lead and it appeared as though the Cardinals had finally pulled away from the pesky Crusaders.
Susquehanna had other plans though, pulling to within eight on Ashley Goodz's jumper with 8:04 on the clock.
Murphy's 3-pointer with 5:24 made it a five-point game, and after Eleni Dimou got inside for a layup on Susquehanna's next possession, the Crusaders were within three.
CUA went in front by five on Jill Woerner's basket with 2:13 remaining, but Shannon Grunwald was fouled down the other end and sank both free throws to again make it a three-point affair.
Following a Cardinals turnover, Palazzi was fouled and hit her two free throws to pull the visitors within one with 1:09 to play.
After the ball changed hands several times, Susquehanna had one final chance to try and win the game, but Murphy's 3-pointer was off the mark, and after grabbing her own rebound, her jumper from the corner missed at the buzzer.
CUA's offense was never able to get in gear tonight, shooting just 31.8 percent from the field and 15.8 percent from beyond the 3-point arc. The Cardinals also committed 20 turnovers.
Woerner led the home team with 17 points, while Owunna finished with 10 points and 11 boards.
Grunwald netted a game-high 20 points for Susquehanna on 8 of 16 shooting, while Palazzi was the team leader in rebounds with eight. The Crusaders were forced into 22 turnovers, which CUA turned into 22 points.
Both teams struggled to score in the opening half, with Grunwald putting the visitors ahead 11-8 with a trifecta at the 12:56 mark.
Emily Grabiak's layup with 9:30 to play before the half tied things at 14, and her 3-pointer two minutes later put the Cardinals on top by one.
CUA closed the half on a 9-4 run, and took a 29-22 lead into the break.
No. 13 CUA is back in action on Saturday evening when the Cardinals travel to Pennsylvania to face the Scranton Royals. Start time is set for 5 p.m.