WASHINGTON - With a mere one-point lead in their favor, sophomore Michelle DeSantis (Trumbull, Conn. / Lauralton Hall) recorded 10 consecutive points including back-to-back three pointers to lead the Catholic University women's basketball team to a 60-52 victory over the Drew University Rangers on Saturday, Feb. 7.
The victory improved the Cardinals' record to 15-7 overall and 9-4 in the Landmark Conference, as the Rangers evened their record to 11-11 overall and 5-8 in the league.
DeSantis supplied a solid output for the Cards with 25 points on 10 of 13 outing from the field and a 5 of 7 finish from behind the arc along with a team-high four distributions. Junior Josephine Migash (Mechanicsburg, Pa. / Trinity) tallied 10 points, Migash and sophomore Melissa Errico (Harrington Park, N.J. / Old Tappan) pulled down a game-high eight rebounds apiece. The pair also recorded two blocks each, as junior Kristen Walheim (Malvern, Pa. / Villa Maria Academy) gathered four steals.
While, Catholic and Drew were statistically comparable in the first half of play, it was CUA's ability to effectively maintain its possessions and outscore DU in four major categories: points in the paint (14-10), off of turnovers (10-3), second chances (6-8) and from the bench (10-0).
The Cardinals took the lead on a three-pointer from DeSantis at the 14:13 mark of the first half. By the 7:15 mark Drew came within one for a score of 20-19, nevertheless CUA out rebounded DU 7-1 to hold the Rangers scoreless and reach a game-high 12-point margin lead with 3:56 remaining.
In the final minutes of the half, Drew paced to a 7-2 run for a halftime score of 33-26 in favor of Catholic.
The New Jersey visitors carried their first half momentum into the second half of play, outscoring CUA 8-4 for another one-point margin shift by the 13:02 mark.
Both teams went silent for the next two minutes of play, until DeSantis put the offense on her shoulders and scored 10 consecutive points, with a pair threes and layups for a nine-point lead, 47-38. Additional baskets in the paint from Sarah Merchant (Northborough, Mass. / Algonquin) and Mackenzie Gardner (Ramsey, N.J. / Immaculate Heart Academy) led Catholic to a 56-43 lead and an eventual 60-52 victory.
Courtney Stephens led the Rangers with 22 points and 12 rebounds for the only double-double of the afternoon, while Hannah Miller added 14 points to the Drew offense. Breana Wilson dropped a game-high five dimes, as Ryan Jackson collected four steals.
By the numbers, Catholic shot 67 percent from the free-throw line (6 of 9), 34 percent from the field (24 of 71) and 33 percent from three-point range (6 of 18). Drew finished the league contest at 92 percent from the charity stripe (11 of 12) 35 percent from behind the arc (7 of 20) and 30 percent from the field (17 of 56).
The Cardinals return to the DuFour Athletic Center on Wednesday, Feb. 11 to host the Goucher Gophers at 7 p.m. in Washington, D.C. This is the second meeting between the two squads this season, as Catholic defeated Goucher 57-52 on Thursday, Jan. 8 in Towson, Md.