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Catholic pulls away for 85-66 win over Bridgewater women’s basketball

Catholic University outscored Bridgewater College 27-11 over the final 10 minutes of the game Thursday evening to pull away for an 85-66 victory at Nininger Hall in a non-conference women’s basketball contest.

bridgewater logoThe difference in the contest came at the foul line. Each team made 28 field goals and each team made six shots from the 3-point range. After shooting a woeful 2-of-11 from the foul line in the first half, the Cardinals made 21-of-23 in the second-half to finish 23-of-34 for the game. The Eagles were sent to the line just nine times and made four.

The Eagles led by three at the half  behind a stellar performance by Cassidy Burkholder . Bridgewater’s sophomore guard scored 15 of her 21 points before the break.

Catholic scored the game’s first four points, but the Eagles evened the score on layups by Burkholder andOshene Kelly.

The score was tied at each even number on the board, until Jessi Strom knocked down a 3-pointer for a 15-14 Bridgewater lead. A layup by Burkholder pushed the lead to three before a 3-pointer by Catholic’s Emily Grabiak knotted the score at 17-17.

The game remained nip-and-tuck until a 5-0 spurt put the Eagles on top by six. Molly Shelly knocked down a 3-pointer and Jessica Lam followed with a layup giving the Eagles their biggest lead of the half, 31-25.

A 3-pointer by Catholic’s Michelle Desantis cut the Eagles lead in half, but Kelsi Bailey answered with a baseline jumper to push the Eagles lead to 33-28.

Catholic’s Bridget Power and Eagles’ center Kelly traded inside hoops before the Cardinals Josephine Migash connected on two foul shots to cut the Eagles lead to 35-32 at the break.

Catholic opened the second half with a 5-0 spurt to take the lead before a driving layup by Burkholder tied the score at 40-40.

The Cardinals then reeled off a 7-0 spurt but once again the Eagles answered to stay close. Strom and Shelley knocked down jumpers to cut the lead to three before Desantis hit from outside, giving Catholic a 49-44 lead.

Bridgewater scored the next five points when Morgan swished a 10-footer and Burkholder converted a three-point play to tie the score at 49-49 with 13:52 left in the game.

A 9-2 spurt put the Cardinals out front, 58-51, but once again the Eagles answered with buckets by Heather Cantrell and Strom to trim the Catholic lead to three, 58-55, with 10 minutes left to play.

Catholic led 60-56 with 8:18 remaining and then the Cardinals embarked on an 11-0 run to open up a 15-point lead, 71-56, with 5:33 to go. A jumper by Morgan temporarily ended the Catholic run but the visitors continued to pull away as a 9-2 fluury gave the Cardinals their biggest lead of the night, 80-60.

Burkholder led the Eagles in points with 21 and rebounds with seven. She also contributed five assists and four steals. Joining her in double figures were Shelley with 13 points and Strom and Morgan with 10 each. Strom also had eight assists and turned the ball over just twice in 35 minutes.

After averaging more than 30 turnovers in the first two games, the Eagles took care of the basketball and turned it over just 14 times.

Catholic shot 47.5 percent from the floor and turned the ball over just 12 times. Grabiak led the winners with 24 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Migash added 16 points and Desantis finished with 14.

Bridgewater returns to action Saturday afternoon when the Eagles open conference play with a home contest against Guilford College. Game time is 2 p.m.

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