By George Thompson
For The Daily Item
SELINSGROVE -- Basketball is a game of two halves.
Unfortunately for Susquehanna, the second half was not kind to the women's basketball team Wednesday night. They were outscored 39-29 in the second half on their way to a 71-63 loss to conference leaders Catholic.
"We were doing well," coach Jim Reed said, referencing the halftime lead the Crusaders enjoyed at the end of the first half. "Catholic felt threatened because we had the lead and we were playing well and they picked up their intensity a little bit and it sort of put us on our heels. That's when they made their run."
In the loss, the Crusaders (11-10, Landmark 5-6) were led by two double-figure scorers, one a member of the senior class on their way out and the other a member of the freshman class staking her claim in the lore of women's basketball at Susquehanna.
Senior guard Mariah Monahan had a career night, leading all scorers with 24 points, in addition to dishing out four assists and grabbing three rebounds. Monahan also connected on 4 3-pointers while going 4-for-5 from the charity stripe.
"I know I have to play well every game or three of our other guards, they have to play well," she said. "I've been in a slump and I've been working. I've been shooting and stuff so I felt pretty confident coming into today."
Meanwhile, freshman guard and Lourdes Regional graduate Nikki Komara had an overall solid performance, filling up the stat sheet in all areas. While she scored 15 points on only 10 shots, she also showed her range, connecting on three 3-pointers in five attempts.
Despite the effort from both of these players and rest of the team, the Crusaders still came up short.
"In the second half we stopped boxing out and stuff, so the boards and second-chance points really hurt us," Monahan said.
After leading 34-32 at the half, the Crusaders came out of the locker room ready to fight and claw their way to a win.
In the opening stages of the second half, the Crusaders succeeded in keeping it close, taking a 50-47 lead on a Monahan 3-pointer with 10:29 left to go in the game.
The Crusaders continued to hold the lead for the next few positions, but with six minutes left, the Cardinals began to make their move. They took a 58-56 lead on a 3-pointer from sophomore forward Kristen Walheim.
The Cardinals would hold onto the lead until the final buzzer sounded, and the Crusaders walked off the floor with their sixth Landmark Conference loss.
Susquehanna was outrebounded 47-29 by the Cardinals, leading to 16-second chance points for Catholic.
Despite the loss, the Crusaders still remain in the hunt for the Landmark Conference playoffs.
"We needed to try and get a big upset here tonight," Reed said. "We got to try and get another big upset on Saturday and then we got two on the road after that that we need to win. It's going to be a tight race. It could come down to the last or next-to-last game."