Courtesy of Catholic Athletic Communications
Newport News, Va. - In a hard-fought Friday night battle, The Catholic University of America women's basketball fell 69-64 to Lynchburg College in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament.
Landmark Conference Player of the Year senior Michelle DeSantis finished her career in style as she sunk 9-of-9 from the free throw line and tallied a game-high 31-points. The Trumbull, Conn., native dished out four assists and pulled down five rebounds.
All-Conference Second Team selection senior Bernadette Launi totaled 15 points including 3-of-3 from 3-point range while fellow second-teamer senior Melissa Errico pulled down 14 rebounds.
DeSantis opened the game with 10 points in the first quarter and the Cards trail 21-20 after the 10 minutes.
Launi and junior Payton Smith started the second quarter with back-to-back 3-pointers to pull the Cardinals ahead 26-21. The Cardinals and Hornets battle back-and-fourth in the period with five additional lead changes. Lynchburg pulled ahead for a 41-39 advantage at halftime.
Lynchburg began the second half on a 8-4 run (49-43) before Launi hit a 3-point shot to bring the Cards within three points. Launi hit the first seven points of the third period while DeSantis tallied four and sophomore Emily O'Connor hit two. Catholic trailed by five (57-52) at the end of the quarter.
Rallying in the fourth quarter, with less than five minutes remaining, a DeSantis layup tied the game at 62 apiece. The game remained tied for the following 2:30 minutes. Lynchburg broke the standstill with a layup and DeSantis answered with two made foul shots.
With one minute to play the Hornets hit a 3-point shot and two free throws to advance to round two of the NCAA DIII Tournament.
The Cardinals finish the 2016-17 season with 23-5 overall and 13-1 in the Landmark Conference. This is Catholic's their fourth appearance in the NCAA DIII Championship Tournament in six seasons. Under the direction of head coach Matt Donohue, the Cardinals have completed their seventh consecutive winning season, the most in program history.