WASHINGTON - The Catholic University of America women's basketball team started Landmark Conference play with a 71-60 win over Drew University to keep their 2016-17 overall record unblemished (6-0).
Senior Michelle DeSantis scored a team-high 20 points, for her third consecutive game over 20-points. Junior Payton Smith scored a season-high 14 points including the game-opening layup. In the backcourt, senior Bernadette Launi grabbed four steals while also pulling down five defensive rebounds.
Smith scored the first four points for the Cardinals as they took a 4-2 lead three minutes into the game. The Rangers tied the game with free throws and dominated possession for the rest of the first period, taking a 16-10 advantage at the end of the first 10-minutes.
Catholic regained control when freshman Caroline Sullivan sunk a jumper 20-seconds into the second period. Though the Rangers did not give up the lead, the conference opponents battled back and forth. Smith hit a three-pointer just pointer just seconds before the halftime buzzer to bring Catholic within two-points (34-32) of Drew.
Senior Melissa Errico tied up the contest 15 seconds into the third period and lifted the Cardinals over the Rangers (38-37) with a layup in the 3rd minute of the period. Catholic carried the momentum but Drew wasn't ready to give up without a fight.
The advantage shifted between the opponents and a 3-point shot halfway into the third period from freshman Mollie Reynolds gave the Cards the push they needed, taking a 43-42 lead. Catholic carried the lead through the final buzzer for its sixth win of the 2016-17 season.
Freshman Sydney Poindexter recorded a season-high seven rebounds during the showdown while DeSantis matched her season-high of seven assists.
The Cardinals head to the Eastern Shore for a midweek battle with the Seagulls of Salisbury University this Wednesday, Dec. 7, with tip-off set for 6 p.m.