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Greyhounds Celebrate Senior Day with Landmark Conference Win over Juniata

Seniors Taylor Freeman, Trista Cunningham, Jen Cella and Ciara Stewart with their families and Head Coach Mary Beth Spirk on Senior Day.
Seniors Taylor Freeman, Trista Cunningham, Jen Cella and Ciara Stewart with their families and Head Coach Mary Beth Spirk on Senior Day.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. --- The Moravian College women's basketball team earned a 76-49 victory over visiting Juniata College in Landmark Conference action in Johnston Hall Saturday as the Greyhounds celebrated Senior Day in their final home game of the season.

The Hounds improve to 16-7 overall and moved into a three-way tie for fourth place at 6-6 in the race for the final Landmark Conference postseason berth.

"I thought we came out with huge intensity, and that was really what we talked about – to come out fast, get the lead and carry it through," stated Head Coach Mary Beth Spirk. "Fortunately, that is what we did. We made shots, played outstanding defense especially in the first quarter, and I thought we passed the ball really well.  We had some good looks. Camille shot the ball well. It was an overall great win for us knowing that we just have to keep winning to get into the playoffs."

Moravian had a pair of players in led by graduate student forward Camille McPherson, who had her fifth double-double of the season and 13th of her career with 29 points and 14 rebounds. McPherson is now eighth in school history with 1,386 points. Sophomore guard Karlie Brogan netted a career-high 16 points to go along with six rebounds and three steals.

Sophomore guard Maddie Capuano had eight points, seven assists and two boards in the win while sophomore forward Nadine Ewald contributed 11 rebounds, seven points, five blocked shots and four assists. Senior forward Trista Cunningham had six points, six rebounds and a pair of blocked shots in her final game in Johnston Hall while senior forward Ciara Stewart added four points a pair of rebounds. Junior forward Ariana Caiati had five rebounds and four points while senior guard Taylor Freeman added two points. Freshman guard Julia Sirotnak pulled down three-rebounds while freshman guard Jennifer McClave had two rebounds and senior forward Jen Cella added one board.

"I said to the seniors pregame and again post game in our celebration that they are kind of unsung players but they are just team players that have a team-first attitude," commented Spirk. "Trista, Taylor, Jen and CeCe, they just put the team ahead of themselves, and we're pretty fortunate to have four seniors go through the program, CeCe for the last two and the other three all four years and stick with it. Today was a great win for them and the team."

The Greyhounds connected on 28-of-73 field goal attempts in the game as well as 7-of-16 three-pointers and 13-of-16 free throw attempts. The Blue and Grey, who their won their third straight game and finished the home season at 11-3 in Johnston Hall, posted a 59-45 advantage on the boards on the afternoon.

Capuano opened the scoring with a pair of free throws and McPherson followed with a lay-up for a 4-0 advantage as Moravian led all but the first 38 seconds of the game. The Hounds pushed the lead to double digits at 15-4 on a jumper by McPherson at the three-minute mark, and Moravian led 17-6 after 10 minutes of action.

The Eagles would close within five points three and a half minutes into the second quarter before a three-pointer from Capuano, a lay-up by Caiati and a free throw from McPherson had the lead back to 11 points, 27-16, with 5:24 before the intermission. The Blue and Grey took that same 11-point lead into the locker room at 39-28.

Both teams struggled coming out for the second half with each squad only scoring three points in the first five minutes of the third quarter. Brogan connected on a three-pointer, and after a jumper by Caiati, Brogan hit lay-up to give Moravian a 49-31 edge. The Hounds headed to the final quarter had a 53-41 edge. The Greyhounds finished the game with a 23-8 run in the fourth period.

Moravian is slated to return to action on Wednesday, February 14 in a Landmark Conference game at Drew University beginning at 7:00 p.m. in Madison, New Jersey.