WASHINGTON – The Catholic University women's basketball (14-4, 7-1) team captured its most demonstrative win of the season, holding Merchant Marine Academy (4-13, 0-9) to less than 25 points during their second matchup of the year on Saturday with a 76-24 victory.
In the team's best defensive performance of the season, CUA held MMA to just 13 first-half points and stepped up the defensive intensity in the second half, limiting the Mariners to 11 points. The Cardinals never let the Mariners get comfortable in the offense, contesting every shot as USMMA went 10-of-55 from the field at 18% and a 1-of-15 finish from three-point range at 7%.
The Cardinals jumped out to an early 10-0 lead by 16:48 and never looked back. All 16 Cardinals that were suited up tonight saw action on the floor. In one of the most spread out scoring efforts of the year, CUA had 13 players score. Senior Emily Grabiak led offensive effort with 14 points, as Kristen Walheim followed with a career-high 10 points. Josephine Migash pulled down a game-high nine rebounds.
USMMA struggled to put anything together offensively, as Kelsey Hoffman finally got the Kings Point visitors to reach double-figures on a jumper at the 7:50 mark, though they were already down 31-10.
By the half, the Cards held USMMA to a 5-of-27 performance from the field, 1-of-9 outing from three-point range and a 2-of-4 mark from the charity stripe for a score of 45-13.
Coming out of the lockerroom, CUA continued to push the tempo. At 14:48, Grabiak pushed the ball in transition and found Brianna Strahm on the left wing who drained the jumper to go up 54-15. It was Grabiak's fourth and final assist of the night and 400th of her career, as she became just the second player in CUA history to reach the milestone.
Although the Cardinals shot a less than stellar 12-of-21 from the free throw line, Michelle Desantis and Kelsie Bacon combined for a perfect 6-of-6 performance. Bacon stepped up and knocked down both of her attempts to score her first career points and pushed CUA to its largest lead of the night, a 53 point advantage with 1:40 left in the contest.
In the first meeting earlier this season, Catholic won 63-53, although the host Mariners outrebounded the Cardinals 57-44. In tonight's victory, CUA was able to turn that statistic around and finish with a 57-44 advantage on the boards. Identical to the previous matchup, CUA forced 30 USMMA turnovers, and turned that into 21 points.
In addition to her career-high 10 points, Walheim also put forth career-highs in rebounds (6) and steals (3). Liz Briones was efficient on the floor, pulling down six rebounds in just seven minutes of action.
Catholic took their 14th win of the season shooting 40% from the long range (8-20) and 36% from the field (36%).
The Cards embark on a three-game road stint starting at Juniata on Wednesday, Feb. 5 at 7:00 p.m.
Notes: Emily Grabiak is now just the second player in CUA women's basketball history to reach 400 career assists. She is currently second on the all-time charts and now only trails Maria Rojas ('07) who dished out 470 helpers during her time with the red and black.