Christendom’s women’s basketball team wrapped their historic 2022-23 season with a consolation win over #10 Central Penn in the USCAA National Championship Tournament this past Tuesday, March 14. The game, which followed a heartbreaking 74-69 loss to #8 Penn State Beaver in the first round of the tournament, was the team’s 20th win of the season — marking a single-season record for Christendom’s women’s basketball program.
The 2022-23 season was one of many firsts for Christendom’s women’s basketball team: first MVP honors for a player (Catherine Thomas), first Coach of the Year honors (Mary Minick), and a first selection ever to the USCAA National Championship Tournament. The team — likely the best ever in the history of Christendom’s women’s basketball program — headed down to Virginia State University for the tournament on Sunday, March 12, eager for their first dance in the National Championship Tournament.
The team faced their first challenge in the opening round of the tournament, taking on #8 Penn State Beaver. Both teams came out of the gate roaring, with the game breathtakingly close at 36-34 in favor of Penn State at the half. Catherine Thomas and Kate Walz each led the way for the team, scoring 10 points and 9 points respectively during the first two quarters.
In the third quarter, Penn State managed to outscore Christendom by 3, extending their lead to five points by the start of the fourth quarter. Christendom refused to back down, however, matching Penn State with every shot and every point the rest of the way. The thriller finally ended in heartbreaking fashion for Christendom, however — 74-69 in favor of Penn State Beaver, pushing Christendom into a final consolation match on Tuesday to close their season. In the loss, both Thomas and Miranda Keller put up double-doubles for Christendom once again, with Thomas going 18-15 and Keller going 16-10.
Rather than let their disappointment from the first round loss color their final game of the season against #10 Central Penn, the women’s basketball team left everything on the floor in their closer to the 2022-23 season. From the jump, Christendom led Central Penn, putting up a 20-10 lead by the end of the first quarter. Central Penn launched a comeback in the second quarter, refusing to yield, making the game tighter at 35-31 by the end of the first half. The two teams drew even in the third quarter before Christendom finally pulled away in the fourth. Christendom ultimately won 64-53, winning their twentieth game of the season — another historic first for a historic team. Thomas and Keller put on a show for Christendom, with Keller leading the team with 27 points and Thomas not far behind with 26 of her own. Both, again, put up double-doubles for the team — a familiar stat line over the course of the season.
The Christendom women’s basketball team went an incredible 19-5 during their regular season, which included an 8-game winning streak stretching from December to early February. Sophomore phenom Catherine Thomas gave a stunning sequel to her impressive inaugural season last year, leading the USCAA in points scored and coming in second in points per game and rebounds per game. Her performance earned her conference MVP honors along with numerous Player of the Week honors, with Miranda Keller also earning Player of the Week honors as well with her similarly impressive run this season. Head Coach Mary Minick also earned Coach of the Year honors for her leadership of the team over the course of the 2022-23 season.
The 2022-23 season was one for the record books. And yet, with Thomas and Keller only just beginning their basketball careers at Christendom, the best is yet to come for the Christendom women’s basketball team.