By Jared Prenda
The Catholic University Women’s Basketball team added another dominant victory to their record as they beat the Susquehanna River Hawks 93-62. The Wednesday, January 25th victory improves the Lady Cardinals to a perfect 7-0 in Landmark Conference play, and 16-2 overall. After a road game overtime upset against Number 3 University of Scranton, who had previously held a 50 game home-win streak before playing the Cards, the Cards are now at the top of the conference.
The Cardinals took command of the game, and posted impressive stats as a team. CUA played a ravenous defensive game, managing to force 11 steals against the River Hawks, and rake in 26 of their 35 rebounds on defense. Their offense was equally potent, shooting 54.8% from the field, and making 14 threes.
The 1st half was well contested by both sides, with neither team falling far behind the other. The 1st quarter was well played, with both teams trading points until the Catholic squad went on a 12-5-point half way through. Susquehanna managed to slowly diminish this lead, and landed a clutch 3-pointer with 35 seconds left in the 10-minute period.
The 2nd quarter was a different story for the Cardinals. The team was outscored 22-16, falling behind 40-37 at the end of the half.
Despite a rough beginning to the match the Lady Card’s had strong performances from individuals. 2-time All Landmark Team selection, Michelle DeSantis, registered 16-points on the night, as well as 5 assists, 3 blocks, and 6 rebounds. DeSantis also combined with seniors, Mellisa
Errico and Bernadette Launi, for a staggering 41 points. Launi scored 14 and grabbed 6 rebounds and 2 assists after being selected as the Landmark Conference Player of the Week. Errico led the team with 7 assists, and grabbing 7 off the boards while tallying 11-points.
The Cards came out on fire in the second half, managing to dominate their opposition by only holding the River Hawks to 9 points the entire 3rd quarter. CUA’s 3rd quarter effort was led by junior Sam Cowan, who went 4-for-4 from behind the arc in the period after coming off the bench.
Cowan was one of four different players to score 20 or more points for the squad with a career high 20 points. The Bedford, Massachusetts native went 7-for-11 from the field and snagged 1 steal, 1 assist, and 4 rebounds in her effort.
When Cowan was asked about how important the bench players were for the Cards, who tallied 38 point in the win, she replied,
“We have a really deep bench and every single one of us can go out there and contribute on and off the court. Everyone is super competitive and we use that in practice to make each other better. And we all click really well as a team too so it’s great that we’re able to use that to our advantage against other teams,” Cowan said.
Despite acquiring a 22-point lead entering the final quarter of play, the Birds showed no signs of easing up. Errico and DeSantis put 10-points apiece on the board, and the bench contributed 14 to seal the 31-point victory.
The victory sealed Catholic’s spot as the top-ranked team in the Landmark Conference, but the team is not letting their success get the better of them. When DeSantis was asked about how the team is managing their success with only a few weeks to the beginning of the playoffs, she replied,
“We are really excited to be in the position that we are in, and I think that is showing in our play. We aren’t worried rankings, but instead we are just playing confidently and having fun while we’re out there,” DeSantis said.
The dominant victory leaves the Cardinals feeling good as they enter their next contest against the Juniata College Eagles, on Saturday, January 28th. The Eagles sport a 1-6 record in conference play, and sit at a .500 overall record of 9-9. The game will be held at 2:00 in the DuFour Center as the Cardinals look to carry the Momentum of this most recent 93-62 win.