SCRANTON, Pa. - Junior forward Alexix Roman (Hawley, Pa./Wallenpaupack) scored a game-high 22 points, as the third-ranked and top-seeded University of Scranton women's basketball team pulled away emphatically in the second half against fourth-seeded Susquehanna in a 66-38 win at the John Long Center on Wednesday night.
With the win, Scranton remains perfect on the season at 26-0 and will host the Landmark Conference Championship Game at home on Saturday afternoon at 3 p.m. against third-seeded Catholic, who were winners at second-seeded Moravian on Wednesday, 84-77, in overtime.
Susquehanna ends their 2015-16 campaign with the loss to Scranton, finishing with a 17-8 overall mark.
To open, Scranton came out sluggish out of the gate, as Susquehanna took advantage early, opening up a 14-9 lead after the first 10 minutes of play. It marked just the third time the entire 2015-16 season that the Lady Royals trailed after the first period and the first since a game at Juniata on Dec. 5.
In the second quarter, Susquehanna continued to keep the lead for the first five minutes and change of the period, and led 20-18 with 4:43 to go in the first half. After four quick points put Scranton up 22-20 with 3:22 left, the Crusaders answered back with a bucket of their own to tie the game up again at 22-all.
This proved to be the final time the rest of the night that Susquehanna would tie the score, as the Lady Royals scored the final five points of regulation to take a 27-22 lead into the locker room for halftime.
Capping off the period was senior guard Jaclyn Gantz (Havertown, Pa./Haverford), who nailed a three-pointer with four seconds left to give the Lady Royals a boost into the break.
The momentum Scranton picked up at the end of the first half carried over into the third quarter, where a 10-2 run over a seven minute span put the Lady Royals up for good at 37-24. As the period wound to a close, the Lady Royals went on to outscore the Crusaders 15-8 to go up 42-30 entering the fourth quarter.
There, Scranton continued to pour it on, eventually opening an insurmountable 21-point lead (57-36) with 4:13 to go in regulation. From there, it was academic for Scranton, as they captured their 12th win of the season inside the Long Center, all by double-digits.
Overall, Roman led the way for Scranton for the 17th time on the year with her 22-point night, which came off the heels of 7-of-9 shooting from the floor. She also snatched six rebounds in the win, as well.
Elsewhere, Gantz was the only other Lady Royal to score in double-figures for the night, ending with 13 points and six rebounds.
Freshman guard Bridgette Mann (Canadenis, Pa./Wallenpaupack) and junior forward Sarah Payonk (Schwenksville, Pa./Spring-Ford) each scored nine points, apiece, with Payonk snatching a game-high 14 rebounds, while dishing out six assists to round out the top performers for Scranton.
When the dust settled in the second half, Scranton had outscored Susquehanna by a 39-16 margin, as the Lady Royals limited the Crusaders to just 27.9 percent shooting from the floor on the night (11.1 percent from three-point range).
On Saturday, Scranton will be in search of their fourth Landmark Conference title and 25th conference championship in program history against Catholic.
Last season, the Cardinals came to Scranton and walked away with a 52-51 win to take the 2015 Landmark Conference crown. This year, Scranton knocked off Catholic in convincing fashion twice during the regular season, first at home on Jan. 16, 70-52, then again last Saturday at Catholic, 84-59.