SU falls at Catholic, 69-41, despite strong first-half effort

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A well-played first half would not be enough for the Salisbury University women's basketball team as the Sea Gulls dropped a 69-41 decision at Catholic University of America on Wednesday evening.

The Cardinals (5-0) came out scoring the first points of the night but Salisbury's play evened the game early on as the two teams exchanged buckets at four points apiece in the opening minutes of the contest.

SU (1-3) took its first lead of the night, 6-4, off senior forward Katie McGahagan's jumper and then excellent defensive play kept Catholic off the scoreboard as sophomore guard Courtney McManus pulled down two defensive rebounds before the Cardinals evened the score at 6-6 off two free throws from Jenna McGann.

The Sea Gulls would go on to score eight straight points. Sophomore point guard Anna Hackett started the run with a jumper for two and then picked off Kelli Josephsen's pass, resulting in a layup by sophomore guard Maggie King to put SU ahead 10-6 at the 13:30 mark.

Aggressive pressure from Salisbury led to another Catholic turnover, leading to junior forward Becca Himes laying the ball in for two off a McGahagan assist. McGahagan then put in two of her own as the Sea Gulls' quick passing against Catholic's full-court press resulted in their largest lead of the night as the maroon and gold went ahead 14-6 forcing a Catholic timeout.

Coming out of the timeout, the Cardinals quickly put up two points starting a seven-point run to bring the contest to 14-13 with nine minutes left in the half.

The Cardinals took a 15-14 lead moments later and a layup from Himes two possessions later would keep SU within one, down 17-16.

In the final minutes of the half, Salisbury would fall behind by 10 points, but a three-pointer from sophomore guard Lexi Kebetz put the Sea Gulls back in the hunt entering halftime down 33-24.

The nine-point deficit was something that the maroon and gold could not overcome in the second half. Catholic shot 40 percent from the floor in the final 20 minutes, despite being held to an 0-for-9 performance from three-point land.

Hackett led the Sea Gulls for the night with nine points and six assists. Kebetz and sophomore forward Aleisha Hobbs each recorded six points and two rebounds while McGahagan pulled down six rebounds and put in seven points for the Sea Gulls.

Jill Woerner put up 18 points for Catholic followed by Katarina Owunna, with 15.

SU will now set its sights on Valley Forge Christian College as the Sea Gulls open their two-day Optimist Tournament on Friday, Nov. 30. Salisbury will take the court against the Patriots at 5:30 p.m.

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