By Jimmy Cassidy
The women’s basketball team at Catholic University trailed their opponents, the Juniata College Eagles, after giving up a jump shot early in their game on Wednesday, January 20th. The score was 5-4. After answering with two made free throws to retake the lead, the Cardinals never looked back. They did not let their visitors grab the lead for the remaining 37 minutes of the contest, and received contributions from a number of players to easily win. The victory moved Catholic’s overall record to 11-6, and their Landmark record improved to 6-2 on the year. A tough year in the Landmark Conference continued for the Eagle, as they dropped to 1-7 with a 6-11 record overall.
Visitors to the Raymond A. DuFour Center have not had their way against the Lady Cardinals thus far this season. Head coach Matt Donohue and his squad have defended their home court to perfection at 6-0, as compared to their 5-6 mark on the road. The story stayed the same for Juniata on Wednesday, as Catholic outplayed them all night long. In the first four minutes of the contest, all five starters, seniors Kristen Walheim and Jayni Webster, juniors Michelle DeSantis and Melissa Errico and sophomore Payton Smith, scored for the Cardinals. The trend of the spread of scoring continued as four of the five starters had at least 13 points in the game.
In addition to an effective offense, CUA’s defensive wreaked havoc all evening on their opponents. The Cardinals played defense at a pace that Juniata could not deal with, and they forced 30 turnovers that turned in 36 well-earned points. In comparison, Catholic only gave the ball up 12 times on offense. The Cardinals found the basket on almost half of their shots, going 32-66 (49%) from the field. Juniata put 14 points on the board in both the first and second quarters of the contest, but faced a tall task at halftime with a 47-28 deficit.
Errico, Smith, Webster, and DeSantis all scored in the double digits. Errico led the way with 16 points on 6-13 shooting in just 19 minutes of work. DeSantis was again all over the stats book, as she contributed 15 points, 10 assists, and 5 steals in an impressive double-double performance. In total, thirteen players got some action on the court, and the team ended up with 25 bench points. CUA had a lead that extended to 27 in the beginning of the third quarter, and the victory was soon achieved with a score of 85-65.
Catholic now sits in the third position in the Landmark Conference, eight games into the season. That would get the team a spot in the conference playoffs and a chance to defend their Landmark Crown. The Cardinals were set to host the United States Merchant Marine Academy tomorrow, January 23rd, but due to the impending snow storm the game has been postponed until a later date. Catholic is slated to travel to Susquehanna to take on the Crusaders on Wednesday, January 27th at 7 PM. Support CUA women’s basketball at their next home game and the DuFour Center on Saturday, January 30th against Moravian!