SCRANTON, Pa. - Senior guard Bridgette Mann (Canadensis, Pa./Wallenpaupack) led The University of Scranton women's basketball team with 19 points, as the Lady Royals used timely shooting and a punishing defensive effort to outlast Johns Hopkins, 59-46, on Saturday night in the Second Round of the 2019 NCAA Division III Championships inside the John Long Center.
With the win, Scranton captured their eighth game in a row overall to move to 27-2 overall and into the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight season. The trip to the Sectional Round is the fifth in the last six seasons for Scranton, and the 22nd trip all-time in program history.
In the Sweet 16, Scranton will take on Christopher Newport (25-5), who advanced this evening with a 79-52 win over Mt. St. Mary (N.Y.) in a game played at Gettysburg. The game will be played on Friday at a site and time to be determined.
With the loss, Johns Hopkins ends the year with a 23-5 overall mark.
From the opening tip on the night, it was a physical affair between the teams, as the opening five minutes of the contest saw the game knotted up at 8-8. Scranton eventually opened up a 16-10 lead after a quick 8-2 run, but Hopkins was able to get a lay-up to count at the buzzer to cut the Scranton lead down to 16-12 at the end of the first quarter.
In the second, the Lady Royals nailed back-to-back three's to take their first double-digit lead of the night at 22-12, then extended it out to 12 points (25-13) with 6:04 to go in the first half after sophomore Taylor Rodriguez (Wayne, N.J./Wayne Hills) nailed another Scranton three.
The rest of the second period saw Scranton keep Johns Hopkins at bay, as a pair of free throws by Rodriguez to end the first half gave the Lady Royals a 34-23 lead into intermission.
It was more of the same in the third quarter, as the closest Hopkins came to the Scranton lead was nine points (on two occasions). To end the frame, the Lady Royals appeared to have all the momentum heading into the fourth quarter up, 46-34.
But, the Blue Jays made one last run at the Scranton lead, as they opened the fourth quarter on a 6-0 spurt to slice the Lady Royals edge down to 46-40 with 8:05 left. But, after a Lady Royals timeout, junior Makenzie Mason (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks West) made a huge three to increase the lead back to nine at 49-40 with 7:41 left.
From there, the Lady Royals rolled, as they salted the game away at the free throw line in the final moments of regulation. Ending the game on a 13-6 run, Scranton advanced in the NCAA Tournament with the 13-point victory, their 26th of the year by double-figures.
Overall, Mann came through with her 19 point evening, as she was stellar from the charity stripe in the win, going 9-of-10 on the night. She also pulled down four rebounds and dished out four assists in the victory, as well.
Elsewhere, Rodriguez once again came off the bench and put together a great game, finishing with 10 points while not missing a shot from the field (3-of-3), three-point range (2-of-2) and free throw line (2-of-2). Mason and junior Emily Sheehan (Dunmore, Pa./Dunmore) finished with eight points, apiece, while freshman Danielle McCurdy (Philadelphia, Pa/Archbishop Ryan) played 22 solid minutes off the bench, pulling down a team-best eight rebounds in the win (while scoring four points).
But, as it's seemingly been all season, the Lady Royals defense was the one that pushed Scranton over the finish line in the victory, as they held another opponent to under 50 points, marking the 19th time on the season it has occurred.
Overall, the Lady Royals held Hopkins to just 31.9 percent shooting from the floor (15-of-47) and 18.2 percent from three-point range (2-of-11). The Blue Jays also went 0-of-6 from outside the arc in the second half, as they were held to 23 points in each half by the tenacious Scranton defense.
Hopkins was led in the loss by Lillian Scott, who finished with 20 points.
Scranton now sets their sights on the Sectional Round match-up against Christopher Newport on Friday. A time and location of the game will be announced later this weekend. Fans are reminded to check athletics.scranton.edu for any updates on Friday's game.