CUA moves onto ECAC title game after downing Alvernia 64-52

CUA moves onto ECAC title game after downing Alvernia 64-52

WAYNESBURG, Pa. – Jill Woerner and Liz Briones registered double-doubles and CUA outscored Alvernia 36-23 in the second half to lead the Cardinals past the Crusaders (14-14) 64-52 in an ECAC semifinal on Saturday.  CUA (19-9) moves onto its first-ever ECAC championship game where it will meet Waynesburg on Sunday.

The Cardinals trailed by as many as 10 points in the opening half, which came at the 8:52 mark, but CUA battled back and went into halftime down just one, 29-28.

CUA scored the first four points out of the break to go in front 32-29, and claim its first lead of the game.  The Cardinals lead was short lived though, with Alvernia going back on top and maintaining a small advantage for the next several minutes.

CUA got back on top when Mary McGann drilled a 3-pointer with 11:20 to play which put the Cardinals in front 41-38.  From there CUA's lead only grew with Woerner scoring the next time down court to make it a 43-38 game.

Holly Janicki's layup with 8:42 remaining gave CUA a seven-point advantage and after Woerner splashed a shot from downtown at the 7:35 mark the Cardinals were in front by double digits.

The lead reached 14 on Jenny McGann's layup at the 6:09 mark, but Alvernia was able to trim it to nine on Angela Altemose's three with 3:06 to go in the game.  CUA responded with the next four points though and led 63-50 with under two minutes remaining to all but put this one away.

Woerner netted a game-high 21 points to go along with 13 rebounds, while Briones totaled 15 points and 15 boards.  Emily Grabiak also totaled double digit rebounds with 10 and overall the Cardinals pulled down 53 caroms.

Kerri Confrey and Mary McGann tied for the team lead with four assists and Woerner recorded four of CUA's 14 steals.  The Cardinals bench scored 30 points, to just 10 from the Crusaders reserves.

Allie Toczylowski had a monster game on the backboards for Alvernia with 20 rebounds and she added 13 points to complete the double-double. 

Julie Hahn (12) and Altemose (11) also finished in double figures, but the Crusaders struggled with their shooting all evening, connecting on just 23 percent from the field, including 12 percent from beyond the arc.

CUA trailed the Crusaders 10-4 in the early going but the Cardinals scored six of the next seven to pull within 11-10 at the 12:06 mark of the first half.

Five straight points from Hahn with under ten to play put CUA in a ten-point hole, 20-10, but Grabiak hit a three and Woerner got to the hoop for an easy basket to cut the deficit in half.

Rachel Ferri's 3-pointer with 4:33 on the clock brought the Cardinals to within 21-20, but Hahn's three a minute later pushed the Crusaders lead back up to four.

With a little over a minute remaining Altemose sank one of two at the foul line to put Alvernia on top 29-25 but Briones brought CUA to within a point when she canned a 3-pointer in the final 30 seconds of the half.

The Cardinals had never won a game in the ECAC Tournament prior to this season and they have now won two games in less than a week.  CUA's 19 wins this season are tied for the third most in school history.

CUA and the top-seeded Waynesburg Yellow Jackets will now meet in the 2011 ECAC championship game on Sunday afternoon in Waynesburg beginning at 2 p.m.  The Cardinals have never won an ECAC title.