Women’s basketball season ends in NCAA quarterfinals

Published: March 17, 2016

JILLIAN WALL

Staff Writer

The University’s women’s basketball teams’ remarkable season ended Saturday with a 57-48 loss to Tufts University.

The Lady Royals had advanced to the quarterfinal round of the tournament, still undefeated, Friday night with an impressive 82-46 victory over Christopher Newport University.

Despite the loss to Tufts, the Lady Royals’ 2015-16 season was one for the record books. Their 30-0 start to the season now holds the all-time program record, and marks the first women’s basketball 30-win season in 23 years.

The Lady Royals also advanced to the Elite Eight for the first time since the 2008-09 season.

The Lady Royals’ extraordinary season has not gone unnoticed, as multiple organizations have recognized members of the teams with awards.

After releasing its 2015-16 All-Mid-Atlantic Region teams, D3Hoops.com named four members from The University to receive this honor.

Junior forward, Sarah Payonk, was named All-Mid-Atlantic Region Player of the Year, finishing the season with an average of 12.3 points per game. She is also ranked fifth in Division III in total assists. Payonk is the first Lady Royal to receive this award since the 2006-07 season.

Fellow junior forward, Alexix Roman, was named to the All-Mid-Atlantic Region First Team as she rounded out the season with an average of 18.6 per game. Roman is ranked third in Division III in field goal percentage and sixth in field goals made.

First-year guard, Bridgette Mann, captured the All-Mid-Atlantic Region Rookie of the Year, ending her season with 11.2 points per game and a team-high 47 three-pointers for the season.

Head coach, Trevor Woodruff, earned the title of All-Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year, as he took the Lady Royals beyond where they had been in years in his first season at The University.

These honors mark the second time Payonk, Roman, Mann and Woodruff were awarded this month, as each also received the same honors from the Landmark Conference.

This outstanding season will not be forgotten by anyone, especially the players, any time soon.

Winning the Landmark Conference Championship, one of the many season highlights, made the top of the favorite-memories list for several players on the team, including Alexix Roman.

“The best was beating Catholic in the conference championship especially after what had happened the year before. I mean, I really just enjoyed the whole season and being with my teammates and coaches from Vegas, to pregame meals, to away game trips. I am really going to miss (seniors) Jaclyn (Gantz) and Noelle (Alicea),” Roman said.

Senior guard Noelle Alicea reflected on her overall experience playing at The University of Scranton, reminiscing on the many memories she has made over the years.

“It has been a pleasure and honor to be part of such an amazing program. Coming in as a freshman, I didn’t realize how much of an impact this program would have on me and now as a senior I realize I couldn’t be luckier. My teammates and coaching staff are people that cannot be replaced,” Alicea said.

Contact the writer: jillian.wall@scranton.edu

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