WASHINGTON, D.C. - Catholic University women's basketball freshman Ashley Smith scored a team-high 13 points, but a strong fourth quarter by visiting Stevens carried the Ducks to a 57-52 nonconference victory Sunday afternoon at Franny Murray Court.
The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for the Cardinals (0-1) in season openers and was just their second in the last five.
Catholic jumped out to a 14-7 lead after the first quarter, scoring 12 points off 11 Stevens turnovers. The Cards stretched that lead to as many as 12 in the second after a jumper by junior Mollie Reynolds gave them a 28-16 lead at the break.
Smith scored eight of her 13 points in the first half where Catholic forced 17 turnovers which led to 17 points. The Cardinals committed just five first-half turnovers.
Catholic maintained a 10-point lead after three quarters, 41-31, adding six more points off six Duck turnovers.
Stevens (2-0) opened the fourth quarter with a 13-3 run to tie the game at 44-44 with 3:58 remaining. A quick 6-2 spurt by the Cards pushed their lead back to four, 50-46 with 3:03 to play, before a three-pointer by the Ducks' Jess Broad pull them back within one.
Over the game's first 38 minutes, Stevens trailed for 34:33 and were tied for the other 3:23. However, two free throws by Broad with 2:04 left gave the Ducks their first lead of the game at 51-50 before two more free throws by Broad extended that margin to three with 1:32 remaining.
Broad scored 17 of her team's 26 points in the fourth quarter as Stevens outscored Catholic, 26-11.
The Cardinals had one more shot to tie the game with 18 seconds remaining, but a jumper by Sydney Poindexter was off the mark and a shot by freshman Luca Mamula off an offensive rebound was blocked with 14 seconds to play and the Ducks added two free throws with two seconds left to provide the final margin.
Stevens was 7-of-11 from the floor in the fourth quarter, including 3-for-3 from three-point range. The Ducks were also 9-for-11 from the free throw line and had just two turnovers after committing 23 over the first three quarters.
Catholic sophomore Cristin George totaled eight points, five assists and two steals while Mumula had eight points, seven rebounds and three steals in her collegiate debut. Reynolds added five points, six rebounds and three assists while junior Megan Stafford added five points and nine rebounds.
Broad finished with a game-high 28 points for Stevens.
The Cardinals return to action on Friday, November 16 versus Penn State Abington at the Stockton Tip-Off Tournament hosted by Stockton University. Game time is at 8 p.m.