WASHINGTON, D.C. - Catholic University women's basketball sophomore Maggie Rakowsky scored a career-high 15 points while junior Sydney Poindexter added 12 points as the Cardinals led for all but five minutes en route to a 59-50 victory over No. 6 Scranton Saturday at Franny Murray Court.
Catholic (13-8, 5-5 Landmark) snapped a five-game losing streak against the Royals by handing them just their second loss of the season, all in the last three games.
Junior Mollie Reynolds added six points, six rebounds, nine assists and six steals, the last two of which were career highs.
Scranton (4) and Catholic (3) have won the last seven Landmark Conference championships.
"It was amazing," said Catholic head coach Matt Donohue. "I'm excited by the effort and the intensity that we put forth today. We just kept pushing the tempo and I thought it was a major difference in the game."
Leading 47-44, Catholic extended its lead to six after freshman Amanda Johnson took a pass from Rakowsky and sank a triple from the right corner. Two free throws from Reynolds pushed the Cardinal lead to 54-48.
With under a minute to play and the shot clock about to expire, Reynolds found Rakowsky in the left corner for a 3-pointer to put the Cards on top, 57-48. Rakowsky added a pair of foul shots at the 22-second mark.
Reynolds had five steals in the first half.
"She basically lived in the training room the past couple of days," said Donohue. "She's a tough kid."
Donohue also spoke highly of Reynold's leadership qualities.
"She's our leader," the 11th-year head coach said. "She's the heart and soul of our team."
After allowing the visitors to sink 5 of 14 3-pointers in the first half, Catholic held the reigning conference champion and league-leading Royals to 2 of 14 in the final 20 minutes. Scranton missed all nine of its three-pointers in the decisive fourth quarter.
"They're one of the top three-point shooting teams in the country," Donohue added. "We just felt like if we could run, run, run, even if it didn't translate into a basket, our thought was that we might be able to wear them down a bit. When you start playing on tired legs, those threes don't fall as easily."
The Cardinals scored nine-straight points late in the first quarter to assume a 19-10 lead. Reynolds scored a basket, had two steals and two assists during the flurry.
The Royals battled back to go up 28-27 at halftime.
Hannah Kowalski and Emily Shurina led Scranton with 11 points apiece. Sofia Recupero blocked three shots and paced all rebounders with eight.
Catholic closes out the regular season with four consecutive road games beginning at Juniata on Wednesday. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.