Big first quarter proves costly as No. 2 Scranton loses to No. 9 George Fox

The No. 2 University of Scranton women's basketball team (10-1) dropped a defensive struggle to the No. 9 George Fox Bruins (7-1) by a score of 54-44 on Saturday night at the Classic at South Point Arena in Las Vegas.

This marked the first ever meeting between the two programs.

George Fox was hot out of the gates in this one and took a 24-9 lead after one quarter. Senior Emily Sheehan (Dunmore, Pa./Dunmore) hit a layup to bring the Lady Royals within six at 12-6 with 5:05 left in the first, but the Bruins responded with a 12-3 run over the remainder of the quarter.

Senior Makenzie Mason (Doylestown, Pa./Central Bucks West) had 15 points on 7-of-14 shooting to pace Scranton, while Sheehan added 12 points.

Haley Strowbridge had 17 points to lead the way offensively for George Fox and Emily Holder and Kylin Collman added nine points apiece.

The Lady Royals started to battle back in the second quarter and a jumper from Mason cut the Bruin lead to 27-20 at the 5:08 mark. Collman hit a pair of late free throws in the final seconds as George Fox took a 34-22 advantage into the locker room.

Collman hit a three to extend the lead to 13 in the early stages of the second quarter, but Mason hit a jumper on the other end to kickstart a 9-1 over the next five plus minutes. Sophomore guard Emily Shurina (East Meadow, N.Y./East Meadow) hit a layup to bring the Lady Royals within five at 38-33 at the 3:02 mark, but a jumper from Strowbridge in the final seconds allowed George Fox to take a 43-34 lead into the fourth quarter. Senior Sofia Recupero (Whitestone, N.Y./Saint Francis Prep) hit consecutive layups with the latter being a three-point play to cut the lead to four at 46-42 with 6:14 to play, but Scranton was unable to get any closer than four the rest of the way as the Bruins limited the Lady Royals to two points in the final 6:14. A three-pointer from Emily Spencer gave George Fox a 52-44 lead with 4:21 left in regulation.

Both teams struggled shooting from the floor as the Lady Royals shot 30.4% (17-of-56) and made three three-pointers, while George Fox shot at a 33.3% clip from both the floor and three-point range. The Bruins held a 38-29 edge on the boards and Shurina and classmate Danielle McCurdy (Philadelphia, Pa./Archbishop Ryan) had six rebounds apiece to lead Scranton.

The Lady Royals will play their second and final game at the Classic on Monday, Dec. 30 when they battle Saint Vincent at 1 p.m.