January 29, 2014

Total Team Effort Leads to Sixth Conference Victory on Wednesday

WASHINGTON – The Catholic University women's basketball team collected its sixth Landmark Conference victory as the Cardinals (13-4,6-1) delivered the team's best collective performance, holding an opponent to season-low three offensive rebounds and forcing 20 enemy turnovers, as CUA defeated the Gophers of Goucher (5-12,1-6) 74-59 on Wednesday in the DuFour Athletic Center.

Freshman Melissa Errico led the Cards with 18 points, as senior Emily Grabiak recorded 16 points, a team-high nine boards and four assists. Sophomore Jayni Webster and freshman Michelle Desantis were the final Cardinals in double-figures, as the duo both notched 11 points. 

After being held to a season-low 27 rebounds on Saturday, the Cardinals bounced back and pulled down 41 boards. In the balanced effort, six Cardinals pulled down at least four rebounds, including a career-high of five boards from Desantis in addition to her personal-best four steals.

In the opening seconds of the game, Sharnell Huff netted a long range basket for the Gophers as Goucher took its only lead of the contest at 3-0. CUA freshman Bernadette Launi and Webster combined for five points on back-to-back baskets to take the lead at the 18:58.

The Gophers fumbled through their offensive and committed seven turnovers.  The disarray led to the Cardinals first double-figure lead for a score of 20-10 at the 11:01 mark.

Goucher regained their composure and cut the margin down to three points, 22-19.  The run was short lived though, as the Cardinal defensive buckled down and forced three more turnovers in the next three minutes. 

The Cardinals took an 11-point lead into the locker room.  At the half, CUA shot 9-of-13 from the charity stripe (69%), 4-of-7 from behind the arc (57%) and 12-27 from the field (44%).  Catholic also held Goucher to one offensive rebound and while forcing 12 turnovers.

During the second half of action, CUA was able to push its lead even further, including the largest lead of the night after a layup by freshman Brianna Strahm put the Cardinals up 18. Strahm came in and provided big minutes for Catholic, connecting on her only shot of the game while pulling down a career-high four rebounds and registering one steal.

Goucher only managed to bring the margin down to 13 points on a layup and three pointer by Huff before Catholic took a 74-59 victory.

As a team, CUA went 16-27 from the free-throw line, 26-63 from the field and 6-17 from three-point range.  The Cardinals overpowered the Gophers in every category: 34-24 (from the paint), 11-27 (off of turnovers), 11-4 (second chances), 4-0 (fast break) and 17-3 (from the bench). 

Although Catholic was able to hold the Gophers below 60 points, they conceeded the best individual performance by an opponent all season to Huff. The senior led all scorers with 36 points, was 13-of-24 from the floor and 7-of-14 from behind the arc. She also led the rebounding effort for Goucher with eight boards.

Precious Kollock and Amaka Ezeani notched 10 points apiece for Goucher, Kollock also tallied six assists.

Notes: The University of Scranton, who was undefeated in the conference, suffered its first Landmark loss at the hands of Moravian. At the midway point of the conference schedule, the Royals (7-1) hold a half game advantage over Catholic and Moravian who are tied for second at 6-1.  Catholic begins the second half of conference play by hosting Merchant Marine Academy on Saturday, Feb. 1 in the DuFour Athletic Center.
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