Strong start carries Cardinals to tournament championship

Strong start carries Cardinals to tournament championship

WESTMINSTER, Md. – CUA raced out to a 35-21 halftime lead vs. McDaniel on Saturday and rode the early advantage to a 70-44 victory in the championship game of the McDaniel Tip-off Tournament.  Katarina Owunna posted a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds to lead CUA, while Kelli Josephsen added 11 points.

CUA led 17-6 in the early going following a Holly Janicki layup and 21-8 after Owunna sank a pair at the charity stripe.

A basket by Josephsen with 2:31 to go in the half put CUA in front 27-18, and after she completed the three-point play the Cardinals were in front by 10.

The lead grew to 15 when Rachel Ferri splashed a 3-pointer, and after Liz Briones' jumper just before the buzzer, CUA took a 35-21 lead into intermission.

CUA stayed hot in the second half, scoring the first six points to open up its first 20-point lead of the day.

The Cardinals continued to pull away with Owunna scoring inside and Emily Grabiak hitting a shot from behind the arc to make it a 56-34 CUA lead.

The lead swelled to 25 on a Grabiak jumper at the 4:03 mark and grew to as many as 28 in leading the Cardinals to their second straight win.

CUA's offense was very balanced with 11 players scoring, including nine with at least five points.  Grabiak handed out a team-high five assists, while also recording four steals.  Josephsen pulled down six rebounds and CUA shot 12 of 13 at the foul line.

McDaniel had trouble scoring on CUA, hitting only 16 of 56 from the floor (28%).  The Cardinals outrebounded the Green Terror 45-29 and forced them into 19 turnovers.

Steph Perez scored 15 points, including three 3-pointers, to lead the home team, while Rachael Rybak and Katherine Restrepo added six points apiece.

Following today's game, Grabiak and Owunna were named to the All-Tournament Team.

CUA will be back in action on Tuesday evening when the Cardinals remain on the road and travel to face Marymount.  Tip-off is set for 5 p.m.