SCRANTON, Pa. - Junior forward Sofia Recupero (Whitestone, N.Y./Saint Francis Prep) scored a career-high 22 points, as The University of Scranton women's basketball team used rallies in the second and third periods to pull away from Ithaca, 65-53, on Saturday afternoon as part of the 2018 Hilton Scranton Poinsettia Classic inside the John Long Center.
With the win, the Lady Royals (who are ranked 6th by D3Hoops.com and 9th by the WBCA), move to 8-0 on the year and extend their non-conference regular season winning streak out to 40 games. Ithaca, who is ranked 22nd by the WBCA, fell to 7-2 overall with the defeat.
In the opening frame of the contest, offense was tough to come by for both teams, as the score was tied on four separate occasions. Ithaca, however, came out on top at the end of the first 10 minutes of regulation, taking an 11-10 lead into the second.
But, in the second period, the Lady Royals found their footing both on offense, and continued to play strong defense to go ahead.
After tying the game up for the fifth time at 14-all, Scranton fired back with a 7-0 run, capped by a three-pointer by freshman Hannah Kowalski (Clarks Summit, Pa./Abington Heights) that gave the Lady Royals a 21-14 lead with 5:11 to go in the first half.
The seven-point lead for Scranton would hold over the next five minutes, as the closest the Bombers came to the Lady Royals lead the rest of the quarter was four points (25-21). Up 30-23 entering intermission, Scranton then knocked out Ithaca with a rally to start the second half.
To open the third, the Lady Royals used a quick 6-0 spurt to open their biggest lead of the game at 36-23. The closest Ithaca came to the Scranton lead the rest of the quarter was nine points (42-33), as a frame in which Scranton outscored Ithaca, 20-13, was capped off by a three-pointer at the buzzer by junior Emily Sheehan (Dunmore, Pa./Dunmore) that gave the Lady Royals a 50-36 lead entering the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, Scranton quickly took an 18-point lead (55-37) on a three by junior Lily Warhaftig (Harlem, N.Y./Poly Prep). The 18-point edge proved to be insurmountable for the Lady Royals, as Scranton coasted down the stretch, earning their seventh victory by double-digits in eight games on the year.
Overall, Recupero was dominant inside all evening, ending the night shooting 10-of-13 from the floor in her 22-point performance. She also snatched seven rebounds and dished out three assists in the win, as well.
Elsewhere, fellow junior Makenzie Mason (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks West) put together an all-around effort, scoring 10 points, with nine rebounds, five assists, two steals and a block. Rounding out the top scorers for Scranton were Sheehan and Kowalski, who had nine points, apiece, in the win.
Of note, senior guard Bridgette Mann (Canadensis, Pa./Wallenpaupack) returned to the floor for the Lady Royals in the win, coming off the bench to score eight points. With two made three-pointers on the day, Mann has now nailed 200 career three's as a Lady Royal, making her the first Scranton women's basketball player to hit that mark in program history.
Ithaca was led in the loss by Annie Giannone, who ended the game with 20 points to earn Team MVP honors for the Hilton Scranton Poinsettia Classic for the Bombers.
The Lady Royals will finish off the 2018 Hilton Scranton Poinsettia Classic on Sunday afternoon, as they take on Capitol inside the John Long Center beginning at 2 p.m.