The Cabrini Lady Cavs were a dominant force in the CSAC this season. But they never really cracked the national spotlight, even with one of the best defenses in the nation, an undefeated conference record and a 19-game winning streak.
So, when they drew the tough task of facing No. 10 Catholic University in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, the odds were stacked against them.
But the Lady Cavs played an admirable game on Friday, March 1, keeping the margin within four points for 35 minutes before eventually falling to the 10th-ranked Lady Cardinals by a score of 52-44.
The Lady Cavs finish the season with a 24-4 record.
Cabrini really controlled the first half, as the lead changed hands several times. With seven minutes remaining in the first half, the Lady Cavs had a six-point lead.
But the lead quickly dwindled and the Lady Cardinals were able to tie the game at the half with the score even at 23.
Cabrini took a four-point lead early in the second half but once Catholic grabbed a hold of the lead with 13 minutes remaining, they never lost it.
The Lady Cardinals would hang on from there as both teams shot with identical percentages from the floor. Both the Lady Cavs and Lady Cardinals shot 34.5 percent for the game.
Leading the way for the Lady Cavs was junior Annie Rivituso, who posted 16 points and added five rebounds. Junior Colleen Stewart had 10 points and six boards.
Seniors Laura Caron and Melissa Kudzmas wrapped up their careers in the loss. Kudzmas only played two minutes in the contest, while Caron posted five points, five rebounds and six assists to complete her career.
For many of the players on this Cabrini women’s basketball team, it was their first experience in the NCAA Tournament. For a team that lacked that kind of tournament experience, they nearly pulled off the upset.
But with only two seniors graduating, the Lady Cavs will return for the 2013-14 season with a roster that has now won a CSAC championship, played in the NCAA Tournament and understands the stage.
It should make for an exciting future for the Lady Cavs, who took the CSAC by storm this season and opened the eyes of many on Cabrini’s campus to the talent they bring to the court.