Selinsgrove, Pa. – Despite record numbers from Melissa Errico (Harrington Park, N.J. / Old Tappan) and Nicole Tollevsen (Middletown, N.J. / Middletown North), the Catholic University Cardinals (3-3, 0-1) gave up a first half 10-point margin lead and suffered their first Landmark Conference loss of the season, falling 67-59 to the Susquehanna Crusaders (4-2, 1-0) on Wednesday.
Errico led all Cardinal scorers with a season-high 19 points, while also leading in rebounding and blocks with a team-best nine boards and three blocks. Tollevsen rounded out CUA's double-figure scorers with 14 points. Michelle DeSantis circulated three assists in the league opener.
In the Cardinals' first away contest of the season, Catholic turned two ties into a 10-point margin lead on the efforts of a layup from Errico, and single three pointers from Payton Smith and Tollevsen.
The momentum quickly shifted in favor of the Pennsylvania host by the six-minute mark in the first 20 minutes of action.
"We had some foul trouble and simply went cold. We created a lot of second chance opportunities by working hard on the offensive glass, unfortunately we couldn't capitalize on those opportunities," explained CUA head women's basketball coach Matt Donohue.
While the Cards struggled to regain momentum, Susquehanna benefitted from the setback and paced to a 11-3 run for a halftime score of 28-26, still in favor of CUA.
Catholic's troubles carried on into the second half of action, as the Crusaders grasped the lead by the 15:10 mark to eventually reach an 11-point margin lead and a subsequent 67-59 win.
"In the second half we simply became too careless with the ball and had far too many turnovers," stated Donohue. "We defended pretty decently in the second half, but gave up numerous offensive rebounds in the closing minutes of the game."
Catholic concluded the night, shooting 72 percent from the free-throw line (13 of 18), with Errico tallying a 7 of 8 finish and Josephine Migash wrapping up at 3 of 4 from the charity stripe. Additionally, CUA was 32 percent from the field (20 of 62) and 30 percent from behind the arc (6 of 20).
Jonaida Williams led Susquehanna with 21 points, Nikki Komara recorded a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Sofia Schedler scored 10 points.
The Crusaders shot 81 percent from the free-throw line (13 of 16), 42 percent from the field (23 of 55) and 33 percent from three-point range (8 of 24).
CUA returns to the DuFour Athletic Center to host the Greyhounds of Moravian on Saturday, Dec. 6 at 4 p.m. in Washington, D.C., for the season's first Landmark Conference doubleheader of the year.
"Going into Saturday, we're going to have to find a way to put the ball in the basket," said Donohue. "We have some student-athletes who are very capable scorers, but shots just aren't falling for them right now so that will definitely be a point of focus moving forward. Beyond that, we have got to improve our shot selection and work on being a more poised offensive team."