March 2, 2011

Cardinals earn first-ever win in ECAC tourney by downing Wesley

WASHINGTON – CUA's first game in the ECAC Tournament since 2006 was a successful one with the Cardinals (18-9) downing Wesley 73-55 on Wednesday evening inside the DuFour Center.  CUA led by just one with 3:22 to play in the first but a 30-8 run over the next 16:39 put the game out of reach and moved the Cardinals into the tournament semifinals.

Wesley (16-13) got a basket from Rachelle Allen with 3:22 to play before halftime which brought the Wolverines within one, 30-29, but the Cardinals ended the half on an 11-3 run to take a 41-32 lead into intermission.

CUA stayed hot following the break, with the Cardinals reeling off 19 of the first 24 points to go on top by a score of 60-38 with 13:17 to play in the game. 

Wesley responded with eight straight points to trim it to a 14-point game, but the Cardinals answered with 13 straight capped by Rachel Ferri's 3-pointer at the 3:09 mark to open up a commanding 73-46 advantage.

The Wolverines scored the final nine points of the contest, but at that point it did not matter.

Jill Woerner (17), Katarina Owunna (14), Kerri Confrey (11) and Liz Briones (10) each hit for double digits in the win, with Woerner also totaling eight rebounds.  Emily Grabiak dished out a team-high nine assists and joined Confrey with a team-high four steals.

The Cardinals received 23 points from their bench and handed out an impressive 26 assists on 30 field goals.

Allison Beddia led the visitors with 15 points, including three 3-pointers, and Angie Owens (10) and Cory Boyd (10) joined her in double figures.  Boyd also totaled five assists, and Owens recorded a double-double with 12 rebounds. 

The Wolverines struggled shooting the basketball all evening, particularly after halftime, when they hit on only 8 of 32 attempts (25 percent).

The first half was tight throughout with four ties between the teams.  Woerner's jumper at the 14:15 mark gave CUA a 14-10 lead, but Allen was fouled on a 3-point attempt, and after sinking all three the Wolverines were within one.

A 3-pointer by Holly Janicki with 10:55 to play in the half put the Cardinals in front 21-17 and a pair of Briones free throws less than a minute later also put CUA on top by four. 

Janicki continued her hot shooting with a jumper at the 9:22 mark to gave CUA a 25-19 advantage and following a trifecta from Woerner the Cardinals found themselves up by nine, 28-19.

Wesley then answered with an 8-0 run to get to within one on Owens' layup with 4:57 to play.  Briones stopped the run with a jumper for CUA, but Allen came down and scored for the Wolverines to again make it a one-point affair.  That proved to be the final Wesley points of the half until the last 30 seconds though as CUA opened up some breathing room.    

CUA will meet sixth-seeded Alvernia at 6 p.m. on Saturday evening from the campus of Waynesburg University in the 2011 ECAC Tournament semifinals.  The host and top-seed Yellow Jackets will take on No. 4 Penn State-Behrend at 3 p.m. with the semifinal winners meeting on Sunday afternoon in the championship game.

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