Cards up to No. 9 in USA Today poll, begin title defense Wednesday

Cards up to No. 9 in USA Today poll, begin title defense Wednesday

WASHINGTON - No. 9/10 CUA begins defense of its Landmark Conference championship Wednesday when the Cardinals welcome Juniata to the DuFour Center for a tournament semifinal matchup. CUA earned a dramatic 79-75 victory over Moravian in overtime this past weekend to lock up the top seed in the tournament, and enters the postseason riding a 10-game win streak. Senior Jill Woerner dropped 25 points and grabbed 10 boards in the win vs. the Greyhounds and was named the Landmark Conference Player of the Week for her efforts.

CUA moved up to No. 9 in the USA Today Top 25 Coaches Poll, released on Tuesday. The Cardinals are ranked No. 10 in the Top 25 poll.

CUA celebrated Senior Day last weekend and then proceeded to defeat Moravian in an overtime classic. The Cardinals, as they have done all season, relied heavily upon their senior starters, with Woerner, Katarina Owunna, Kelli Josephsen and Jenny McGann combining for 60 points, 33 boards, and nine blocked shots.

CUA has now earned three straight Landmark Conference Tournament berths, including last season when the Cards won the title. Owunna registered double-doubles in both tourney wins last season, while Woerner dropped in a game-high 23 points in the championship game at Juniata. Two seasons ago, Woerner scored 18 points, and Emily Grabiak totaled 10 in a 74-61 setback to Juniata in the semifinals.

The Cardinals registered a season-high 10 blocks against Moravian, led by Owunna's five. CUA enters Wednesday ranked second in the Landmark Conference in blocks (4.9), with Owunna and Woerner ranking fourth and fifth, respectively.

After not scoring in double figures for nine straight games, Josephsen has scored 12 points in each of the last two. Josephsen's 3-pointer from the corner with 2:42 to play in OT gave CUA a lead it would not relinquish in last weekend’s win over Moravian.

Grabiak has handed out 141 assists this season, the third most in school history. Grabiak leads the Landmark Conference in assists (5.6) and assist-to-turnover ratio (2.8), and registered a career-high 12 helpers in the win over Moravian last weekend.

CUA and Juniata meet for the third straight season in the Landmark Conference Tournament. The Eagles downed the Cardinals two seasons ago in the semifinal round, while CUA exacted revenge last season with a victory in the championship game. Both of those contests were played in Huntingdon, Pa.

At 18-7 overall and 9-5 in the Landmark Conference, Juniata is the No. 4 seed in the Landmark Conference Tournament. The Eagles have won two straight, including a dominant 96-48 win over Drew this past weekend.

Kate McDonald, who scored her 1,000th career point in that win vs. the Rangers, is Juniata’s leading scorer at 14.0 points per game. Jordan Speck also averages double figure points (10.4), while McDonald is the leading rebounder (10.4). The Eagles went 2-4 vs. the tournament field this season, including 0-2 against CUA.

For more information on Wednesday’s semifinal matchup, check out the CUA game notes.

CUA and Juniata will get things started at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday. Click here for links to live video and stats.