Mertz and Rojas Each Hit 1,000 in Cardinal
CUA earns fifth seed in CAC Tourney
WASHINGTON - Saturday's Catholic University women's basketball game featured layer upon layer of pressure for the Cardinals. CUA was taking on the #10 Mary Washington Eagles (23-2, 13-1 CAC), the Cards needed a win to get home court advantage in the Capital Athletic Conference tournament. On top of that two players were on the brink of 1,000 points in the last home game of the regular season. The Cards (15-10, 7-7 CAC) were unable to get the win falling 58-43 but Shannon Mertz (Silver Spring, Md./Georgetown Visitation) and Maria Rojas (Naples, Fla./LaSalle Academy) each hit their milestone making it a successful day for the senior class.
The first half was one of the best defensive efforts the Cards have put in all season. CUA held the league-leading Eagles to 25 percent shooting and just 23 points also forcing 10 turnovers. The Cardinals also had troubling hitting shots but never let the UMW lead to go above five. At 10:39 a Mertz jumper put the Cardinals up by one but Mary Washington came back and put together a run to go up 23-17 at the break.
Mertz led CUA with eight points, freshman Kate Robinson (Emmitsburg, Md./Catoctin High School) added four. Rojas was the leading rebounder with three. CUA shot 24 percent from the field but had just seven turnovers. The Eagles used their huge size advantage to outrebound the Cards 29-16.
With the game easily in reach, CUA was looking for another strong defensive performance in the second half. Unfortunately the Eagles began sinking their shots and the Cards were sunk. Mary Washington went up by 12 early in the half and the Cards were never able to get it back to a one possession game. With a little more than three minutes remaining, CUA was down by six. A UMW layup made it eight and the Cards were forced to foul. Mary Washington hit from the line making the final 58-43.
Mertz hit her milestone at 14:30 in the second on a free throw. She finished with a team-high 12 points as well as four rebounds. Rojas was scoreless in the first half but finally hit 1,000 with 6:05 left to play when she slashed through the lane to make a layup on the left side. She ended the game with five points, five assists and a team-high six rebounds. The Cards were outrebounded 59-32 but had just 11 turnovers to Mary Washington's 20.
With the loss the Cards earned the fifth seed in the conference tournament meaning they will travel to Salisbury on Tuesday for a 7:00 p.m., contests against the fourth seed Sea Gulls.