By Tom Robinson
SCRANTON – The University of Scranton women were rolling early in the Landmark Conference championship game and a familiar face was right in the middle of it.
Bridgette Mann hit 3-pointers for 7-2 and 11-2 leads as part of a 20-4 start that carried the Lady Royals to a 68-48 rout of Elizabethtown College in Sunday’s title game at the John Long Center.
Mann, who had missed eight straight games with an ankle issue in the second extended injury absence of her senior season, finished with 11 points.
“Definitely, in the back of my head, it was always a thought, ‘am I ever going to be the player I was? Am I ever even going to step foot on the court again?’” said Mann, a JB Hoops alum and Wallenpaupack graduate. “To be honest, my teammates, every single day I got back from therapy, it was ‘hey, you’ve got to be patient. We know you’re going to get back on the court’.
“The amount of trust they had in me is something I’ll forever be grateful for.”
Mann, the Landmark Conference Rookie of the Year as a freshman and Player of the Year as a junior, is back in the starting lineup at guard as Scranton enters the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Tournament Friday night at home. She heads there with the distinction of four-time Landmark champion.
“Going into college, I never really thought, ‘hey, I’m going to win four championships’,” Mann said. “It wasn’t really a goal. A goal of mine was to try to get on the court as a freshman and just play the best I can.
“I feel so grateful and so blessed that coach (Trevor Woodruff) believed in me enough to get me back in the game for today. It’s just been unreal.”
Scranton (25-2) plays New England College Friday at 7. With the win, the Lady Royals would host the Johns Hopkins-Eastern Connecticut State winner Saturday.