SCRANTON, Pa. – The No. 8 University of Scranton women’s basketball team (6-0) limited No. 14 Ithaca to just 32.1% shooting and forced 20 turnovers en route to a 74-53 victory over the Bombers in a Top 15 non-conference matchup on Tuesday night at the John Long Center in Scranton.
The Lady Royals led for the final 38:56 of the game after taking a 4-2 lead just over a minute into the contest and never looked back.
Senior Bridget Monaghan (Florham Park, NJ/Morristown-Beard) hit a layup to give Scranton the aforementioned 4-2 lead and freshman Kaji Cranson (Scranton, Pa./Holy Cross) later buried a three for an 11-5 edge with 5:36 left in the first quarter. After the Bombers battled back to cut the lead to 15-13, Scranton closed the stanza on an 11-4 run and Kranson sank a free throw in the waning seconds for a 26-17 lead. Another Kranson layup stretched the lead into double digits at 34-23 with 4:24 left in the second quarter and the Scranton native helped the Lady Royals take a 40-30 lead into the locker room.
Kranson scored 19 of her career-high 24 points in the first half.
After Ithaca scored the first five points of the third quarter to slice the lead to 40-35, Monaghan sank a jumper and hit a pair of free throws on consecutive possessions to stretch the lead back to nine at 44-35 at the 6:20 mark. mark. Just over a minute later, senior Hannah Angelini (Baldwin Place, NY/Somers) converted a three-point play that made it 47-35 and the Lady Royals held the lead in double digits at 52-41 after three. Angelini then hit a layup to open the scoring in the fourth quarter and ignite a 9-2 run as a Monaghan jumper capped things off to extend the lead to 61-43 with 6:53 to play. Graduate student Sam Rajza (Plains, Pa./Holy Redeemer) scored eight straight points for the hosts down the stretch to preserve the 74-53 win.
Kranson tallied her career-high 24 on 9-of-14 shooting and Monaghan added a season-high 20, while Rajza contributed 14 of her own behind a trio of three-pointers. Junior Maddy Ryan (Malvern, Pa./Villa Maria Academy) came through with six points, seven rebounds and a career-high eight steals for the Lady Royals.
Ryan’s eight steals are the most by a Scranton player since Megan Kopecki recorded eight thefts versus Merchant Marine on Jan. 29, 2010.
Lindsey Albertelli paced Ithaca with 12 points in the setback.
Scranton shot 40.3% (25-of-62) from the field, 41.2% (7-of-17) from three-point range and 17-of-23 (73.9%) from the charity stripe in the contest. The Bombers were just 18-of-56 (32.1%) from the floor and 3-of-17 (17.6%) from beyond the arc.
Head coach Ben O’Brien’s the team forced the 20 Ithaca turnovers, which led to 21 points.
Ithaca held a 43-37 edge in the rebounding battle and Kranson and Ryan grabbed seven rebounds apiece to lead Scranton.
The Lady Royals will host Goucher in the Landmark Conference opener for both teams on Saturday afternoon at the John Long Center with action slated to get underway at 2 p.m.