Assistant Sports Editor
Following three simple concepts can go a long way.
Tough. Smart. Together.
That was the Scranton women’s basketball team’s motto this year, and sticking to those principles fostered another successful season for the Lady Royals.
Scranton (24-1 overall, 13-1 conference) is riding a 19-game win streak into the Landmark Conference playoffs after capping off the season with a blowout at Goucher College.
The Lady Royals’ starters played just eight minutes each on the way to a 72-24 victory against the Gophers (0-25, 0-14) on Saturday. First-year guard Taylor Rodriguez scored a team-high 12 points, hitting four of five 3-pointers.
“That was definitely a good motivational game going into playoffs,” junior guard Bridgette Mann said. “We needed to make sure we worked on the little things and the little details because going into playoffs … you should be playing your best defense and beat offense.”
The game got out of hand quickly after the Lady Royals scored the first 10 points and boasted a 25-2 lead through one quarter. Sophomore Julia Gantz added eight points and senior Katie Feehery led the team with 10 rebounds.
The win only reinforced Scranton’s dominance over the conference as it had already clinched home court advantage throughout the Landmark playoffs.
“We try to stay confident for every game,” Mann said. “But it takes a lot of focus, and I think when this team is mentally focused, that’s when we play our best and our most intense.”
The Lady Royals scored 67.6 points per game and allowed just 51.6 this season. Mann leads the team in scoring (15.5) and assists (3.3) while Feehery leads in rebounds (6.6).
Scranton’s nearly perfect record secured the No. 1 seed in the conference playoffs. The Lady Royals look to win their third straight and sixth overall Landmark title in its 11-year history.
They will host No. 4 Moravian College (17-8, 7-7) in the semifinals 7 p.m. Wednesday the Greyhounds were tired for first in the Landmark preseason poll. Now they look for revenge in a rematch of last year’s conference title game.
“We’re just trying to stay composed and not get too overexcited,” Mann said. “Just take it day by day.”
The Lady Royals beat Moravian in overtime in both contests this season, so the home crowd may be treated to some free basketball again on Wednesday night.
The only team to defeat the Lady Royals this year is slotted at No. 2. Juniata College (21-4, 10-4) beat Scranton, 62-54, on Dec. 2, but lost the second matchup 62-45 on Feb. 3.
If the Juniata and Scranton get a rubber match, it will be in the championship game on Saturday.
But first, the Eagles have to take on No. 3 Elizabethtown College, another team with which they split the season series.
Juniata hosts Elizabethtown on 7:30 p.m. Wednesday The Lady Royals would likely prefer an Elizabethtown victory, but they are focused on the game ahead of them.
“We have to beat Moravian first,” Mann said. “But if we do end up facing Juniata in the Landmark championship, I think we’ll be able to take care of business.”
With a win, Scranton will host the conference championship Saturday at a time yet to be determined.