Scranton, Pa. - After earning a ticket in the Landmark Conference Finals for the fourth time in five seasons, The Catholic University of America women's basketball fell, 78-57, to the top-seeded and nationally ranked No. 3 University of Scranton in the title match, Saturday afternoon.
With the win, No.3 Scranton captured their forth Landmark Title in eight season, and remains undefeated in the 2015-16 season (26-0). As the conference champions, the Royals earn an automatic bid to the NCAA DIII Championship Tournament.
With their eye on their second consecutive championship Lady Cardinals looked to shut down the unblemished Royals.
Both teams tallied over 20 points in the opening period but it was The Royals who took the early, 33-24, lead after the first 10 minutes. Scranton increased the margin to 11 (46-35) before the halftime intermission and continued to advance their lead through the final buzzer.
Throughout the contest, Catholic put a stop to the Royals' top scorer, junior Alexix Roman, who only tallied just eight points in the championship game. Junior Sarah Payonk stepped up for Scranton with 12 second half points (17 total), and 10 total rebounds, earning the Landmark Championship Tournament MVP award.
Catholic shot 42.6% from the field during the championship match, while Scranton shot just 40%. The Royals came in clutch shooting from outside the arch (33.3%) and behind the charity strip (84.3%).
Three Lady Cards sunk double digits in the contest with junior Melissa Errico tallying a team-high 13, while fellow junior Michelle DeSantis score 12 and senior Josephine Migash hit 11. Desantis, who leads the Lady Cards in assist (143) for the 2015-16 season, dished out five helpers in the championship game.
Catholic collected 23 defensive rebounds throughout the contest with Errico grabbing a team-high six (7 total). Errico leads Catholic in rebounds (184) for the year. Senior Kristen Walheim added seven rebounds of her own and junior Bernadette Launi grabbed five.
The Cardinals have captured three of the last five conference championships, 2012, 2013 and 2015, and are 17-10 for the 2015-15 season. They now awaite the NCAA DIII selections in hopes of an at-large bid to the 2016 DIII Championship Tournament.