January 2, 2011

Cardinals fall to Manhattanville in Fairfield Inn championship

WASHINGTON – CUA and Manhattanville went back-and-forth on Sunday evening in the 2011 Fairfield Inn Holiday Tournament championship game before the Valiants eventually outlasted the Cardinals 75-68 inside the DuFour Center Gymnasium.  The loss drops CUA to 8-3 on the season, while Manhattanville improves to 7-4.

CUA trailed by as many as nine points in the second half, which came with 14:36 to play, but the Cardinals refused to go away, getting to within 54-53 on Liz Briones' three-pointer at the 10:41 mark.

Three minutes later, the Cardinals took their first lead since late in the first half when Jenny McGann drilled a trifecta.  The lead then grew to 65-60 on Emily Grabiak's jumper with 5:02 to play, and CUA was poised for a strong finish.

Manhattanville chipped away at the Cardinals lead though, and eventually tied the game at 68 on a pair of free throws by Simona Gordon with under two minutes to play.  Those free throws followed a foul by CUA's Kerri Confrey, which sent the senior to the bench with five fouls, along with teammate Jill Woerner, who earlier had fouled out.

That made things tough for the Cardinals in the closing minutes, as the Valiants outscored the home team 7-0 in the final 1:30 to secure the victory.

The first half was very tight for the first 14 minutes before Manhattanville opened up a 33-27 lead on Kaitlin Degnan's jumper with 4:01 to play.  Another Degnan bucket less than two minutes later then gave the Valiants a seven-point cushion, while Gordon's three in the final minute sent the visitors to the locker room with a 40-34 advantage.

Jenny McGann led CUA with 19 points on the evening, while Woerner contributed 17 and Briones scored 10.  Woerner also pulled down nine boards and recorded a pair of steals.

Gordon tallied a double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds for Manhattanville, while Kelly Hyjek also registered a double-double with 18 points and 11 boards for the visitors.

Woerner and Jenny McGann were CUA's representatives on the All-Tournament Team, while Gordon and Hyjek from Manhattanville received the accolades with Gordon taking home the MVP trophy.

Amanda Billy of Marymount, who scored 42 points in Sunday evening's first game, and Allie Shanahan of Staten Island were also named to the All-Tourney Team.  Marymount downed Staten Island 61-58 in the consolation game on Sunday. 

CUA will be back in action on Friday evening when the Cardinals trek to Pennsylvania to take on Juniata in a Landmark Conference showdown.  Tip time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

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