The University’s women’s basketball team punched its ticket to conference playoffs after winning a nail-biter against Landmark Conference rival Catholic University. They battled their way to defeat the Lady Cardinals 46-44 on Saturday.
The conference tournament will begin Feb. 22. If all goes as expected in the final regular season games on Wednesday, the Lady Royals will face the Moravian College Greyhounds. After splitting the games 1-1 against Moravian College in the regular season, the Lady Royals hope to break the tie against the Lady Greyhounds in this crucial game.
Though the playoffs near, senior captain Sarah Payonk stressed the importance of focusing on the team’s upcoming games.
“There are no teams in our conference you can take for granted, and everyone is going to give us their best shot. So as of now, our focus is on our game at Susquehanna on Wednesday,” Payonk said.
Sophomore guard Bridgette Mann also echoed this concentration.
“We first want to focus on finishing the regular season strong to give ourselves a lot of motivation heading into playoffs. We’re going to focus on one practice at a time to get better each day,” Mann said.
Both Payonk and Mann emphasized the importance of solidifying team defense.
“If we can play locked in, focused defense, then the offense will work itself out,” Payonk said.
Already having one championship victory under her belt, Mann is excited for another shot at a title in her second year in the program.
“It definitely takes away some of the jitters but I’m still super excited about it. Last year was a great learning experience and I know my team and myself are really looking forward to making a run at the championship,” Mann said.
With this being her final year of collegiate basketball, this run is a special one for Payonk. “Denise [Rizzo], [Alexix] Roman and I all want to end our careers with a Landmark Championship so we need to give it our all to make it happen,” Payonk said.
The clinched playoff spot means they will get that chance. It also means they can add a third championship title to their decorated careers.
“It means that we can’t take anything for granted and need to leave it all on the court,” Payonk said.