WASHINGTON - The Catholic University of America women's basketball team's 2016-17 record remains unblemished at 5-0 as it topped Eastern Mennonite with a notable 78-42 victory on Wednesday night. This marks the program's best start since the 2012-13 when they opened the season with a 14-game winning streak.
Senior Michelle DeSantis led the Catholic offense with 21 points and six assists while her classmate Bernadette Launi scored 12 total points. Off the bench junior Samantha Cowan recorded a season-high eight points while sophomore Emily O'Connor tallied a career-high six points.
The Cardinals began the showdown with a 14-0 run before the Royals sunk their first bucket in the fourth minute of play. Senior Melissa Errico started the Catholic scoring streak with a jumper less than 30 seconds after tip-off.
The Royals continued to build momentum but the Cards notched a total of 23 points in the first ten minutes to gain a significant 23-12 lead at the end of the first period. DeSantis put up eight total points in the first period while Launi notched seven.
Eastern Mennonite picked up speed at the start of the second period scoring the first seven points. Catholic refused to surrender the lead, sinking 57.1% of its field goal attempts, taking a 42-30 advantage going into the halftime break.
After the break the Cardinals' defense held the Royals to just 12 points.
Catholic went on a 13-point run between the first and seventh minute of the third period. In just six minutes on the court during the third, DeSantis matched her first period total of eight points while freshman Megan Stafford entered the game to register three.
With a significant 59-35 lead heading into the final period, Catholic head coach Matt Donohue exhausted his bench, tapping into the potential of each his reserves. The Cardinals notched an additional 19 points while forcing seven turnovers and five steals in the fourth period to capture the 36-point victory.
The Cardinals' defense forced 22 turnovers on the Royals throughout the 40-minute contest. Cowan, DeSantis and Launi grabbed two steals apiece while O'Connor registered a block.
Catholic women's basketball will seek to continue its winning streak when it opens Landmark Conference play on Saturday, Dec. 3. The Cards will host the Rangers of Drew University, tip-off is scheduled for 2 p.m.
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