CUA wins fourth straight behind strong defense, balanced offense

CHESTERTOWN, Md. – Make that four wins in a row for the CUA women's basketball team after the Cardinals defeated Washington College 74-63 on the road on Saturday afternoon to improve to 5-1.  Three Cardinals hit for double figures including Jill Woerner (15), Kerri Confrey (11) and Mary McGann (11) and CUA's defense limited the Shorewomen (3-6) to 28 percent shooting from the floor.

Woerner not only led CUA in scoring, but also in rebounding with nine boards, while Liz Briones pulled down eight caroms.  Brielle Crites and Emily Grabiak handed out four assists apiece, as CUA assisted on 17 of 27 field goals, and as a team the Cardinals totaled an impressive 23 steals, led by Woerner, Confrey and Grabiak with five each.

Sally O'Donnell led the home team with 22 points and Meghan Tait hit for 11, but Washington College was harassed all afternoon long by the CUA defense, as the Shorewomen hit only 17 of 60 attempts from the field and 5 of 19 from three-point range.

CUA forced 33 turnovers by the Shorewomen and the Cardinals converted those miscues into 29 points.  CUA also outscored its opponent 22-11 on the fastbreak and 36-22 in the paint.

Despite Washington College's cold shooting, the Shorewomen did jump out to an 8-2 lead on the Cardinals after three minutes of play.  Erin Kile's jumper at the 14:53 mark then made it a 10-4 game, but Margaret Riordan answered with a bucket for CUA and Mary McGann followed with a three-pointer to pull the Cardinals within one, 10-9.

Seven straight by Washington College made it a 17-9 game, and the Shorewomen were able to maintain a lead of that size for the next several minutes.

Sally O'Donnell's pair of free throws at the 8:55 mark put CUA in a double-digit hole, 25-15, but the Cardinals ripped off an 11-1 run capped by Katarina Owunna's jumper with 5:53 to play, as they tied things at 26.

After Washington College had taken the lead back Briones got inside for a layup and Confrey splashed a jumper to knot the score at 30 with exactly three minutes left before intermission.  Mary McGann then hit a free throw and CUA had finally taken its first lead of the day, 31-30.

The Cardinals scored six of the final nine points of the half and took a 37-33 lead into the locker room.

The Shorewomen ran off eight straight to begin the second half as they surged in front 41-37, but back-to-back baskets by Confrey and Woerner again tied the game, this time at 41.

With CUA trailing 45-44 with under 15 to play, the Cardinals ran off 10 unanswered points to pull in front 54-45 at the 11:50 mark.

Mary McGann's layup with 10:26 to play then gave CUA its first double-digit lead of the day, and following two more baskets, one from Jesse Ford and another from Briones, the Cardinals found themselves ahead by 15, 63-48.

The game was far from over though, as Washington College ripped off a run of its own, scoring nine straight to pull within 63-57 with 4:29 on the clock.  Grabiak and Confrey answered with two straight baskets for CUA though, and the Cardinals went back in front by 10.

In the final two minutes of the game, CUA did a nice job at the charity stripe, sinking seven of nine attempts to hold off any thoughts of a Shorewomen rally.

CUA is off for the next week before returning to action on Saturday, December 18 when the Cardinals welcome Stevenson to the DuFour Gymnasium.  Tip-off is set for 5:30.

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