WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – The No. 10 University of Scranton women's basketball team (4-0) outscored King's (1-4) by a 48-18 margin in the second half and rolled to an 80-42 victory over the Monarchs in the first game of the annual Cross County Challenge on Saturday afternoon at the Marts Center in Wilkes-Barre.
Scranton led 32-24 at halftime and then scored 24 points in each of the final two quarters to break the game open.
King's led 8-6 with 2:52 to play in the first quarter before junior Allie Lynch (Villanova, Pa./Academy of Notre Dame de Namur) hit consecutive layups to give the Lady Royals the lead at 10-8 and head coach Ben O'Brien's team held a slight 12-11 edge after one quarter. The two teams traded baskets through the first few minutes of the second quarter and Scranton led 20-19 when freshman Kaci Kranson (Scranton, Pa./Holy Cross) made a layup to fuel a 10-0 run that was capped by a jumper from senior Bridget Monaghan (Florham Park, N.J./Morristown-Beard) to make it 30-19 with 1:58 remaining in the period. King's hit a three pointer in the final minute to cut the Scranton lead to 32-24 at the break.
The Lady Royals tore off a 15-2 run to begin the third quarter which included nine points from Kranson and her three point play stretched the lead to 47-26 at the 5:35 mark. After a King's three, graduate student Sam Rajza (Plains, Pa./Holy Redeemer) buried a three to ignite another 9-0 spurt that resulted in a 56-29 lead with 1:08 to go in the quarter and a 56-32 lead headed into the fourth. The Monarchs cut the lead to 20 at 56-36 before a 13-0 run by Scranton and consecutive layups by Lynch made it 69-36 with 5:35 remaining. From there, the Lady Royals cruised to a fourth straight victory to open the season and led by as many as 40 after sophomore Morgan Brewer (Vernon, N.Y./Vernon Verona Sherrill) connected on a three-pointer in the final minute.
Kranson led all scorers with 19 points and was joined in double figures by Lynch with a career-high 12 points and 10 apiece by Monaghan and fellow senior Hannah Angelini (Baldwin Place, N.Y./Somers).
Rajza also added eight points, six assists, five rebounds and five steals, while Angelini contributed seven rebounds of her own.
Lynch's 12 points surpasses her previous career-best of nine that was set in a victory over Dickinson on Dec. 21, 2021.
As a team, the Lady Royals shot 42.6% (29-of-68) from the floor and made all 17 attempts from the free throw line as Kranson was 9-9 and Monaghan was 6-6.
King's was led by Gianna Dickson with 11 points.
Scranton's defense was able to force 28 Monarch turnovers and also held a 37-34 advantage in the rebounding battle.
The Lady Royals will take on host Wilkes in the final game of the Cross County Challenge on Saturday afternoon with opening tip slated for 3 p.m.