Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Captains Cruise to Win Over Southern Virginia in Regular Season Home Finale, 72-44

(Sydney Smith/CNU Athletics)

NEWPORT NEWS — Playing in the 300th game at home since the Freeman Center opened its doors in the 2000-01 season, the nationally-ranked Christopher Newport women’s team secured win number 262 with a 72-44 victory over Southern Virginia on Wednesday night. The Captains dominated the first quarter and sailed to the Senior Night win as Katy Rader and Alivia Giles each played in their final home regular season game.

Giles led the way for the Captains with a game-high 16 points on 4-of-7 shooting while adding a perfect 8-for-8 run at the free-throw line. She hauled in four rebounds and grabbed one steal in 21 minutes after being honored in the pre-game ceremony. Fifth-year senior Katy Rader added a pair of three-pointers in the first quarter, helping CNU race out to a 29-8 lead after ten minutes, and added three steals, including a highlight-reel play diving out of bounds on the defensive end.

With the win, the Captains add another game to the longest active home winning streak in Division III, with 51 consecutive victories, while improving to 23-1 overall this season. CNU is now 97-3 over their last 100 games played for a winning percentage of 97% since December 29, 2019.

Jumping out to a big lead early, Christopher Newport shot 62.5% from the field in the first quarter on 10-of-16 shooting. That included five three-pointers on nine attempts as CNU quickly distanced themselves from the Knights with a 20-0 run that spanned just over four-and-a-half minutes. The impressive performance from beyond the arc was started with pinpoint passing from senior point guard Gabbi San Diego as she set up Rader and Camille Malagar for back-to-back triples to give CNU an 8-4 lead.

After the first wave of substitutions for Christopher Newport, the shooting show continued when McKenna Snively buried back-to-back threes going into and coming out of the media timeout. First, she forced the Southern Virginia timeout with a three off a feed from Hailey Kellogg to make the score 17-4 and then, out of the break, she knocked down another from a pass by Ashley Steadman to get CNU out in front, 20-4.

The burst continued as the starters returned and Malagar set up Hannah Kaloi for a tough layup with her right hand and then San Diego added another dime on the fast break when Rader set up on the wing for a transition trey. The Knights finally ended the 20-point run with a short jumper in the lane, but Alivia Giles finished out the quarter with two points from the line and a late jumper.

Having built a 21-point lead after the first quarter, the Captains cruised into the break with a big lead. Snively buried her third shot from deep to start the second quarter and the CNU defense held Southern Virginia to just 24 first-half points. After the Knights climbed to within 15 at 32-17, the Captains quickly rebuilt the advantage with a 7-0 run that featured a long three-pointer by Caitlin Crump off yet another assist by San Diego.

The veteran point guard finished the game with seven helpers and just two turnovers in 20 minutes of action. In all, CNU had 18 assists on 24 made baskets including two dimes each for Malagar, Kellogg, and Steadman.

Christopher Newport also had another exceptional day at the free-throw line, knocking down 16-of-18 from the stripe for 88.9%. The Captains saw a streak of 32 consecutive free-throws come to an end after going a perfect 12-for-12 against Mary Washington last game and opening Wednesday’s matchup with 14 straight makes.

Joining Giles in double figures was Malagar with 10 points as the Captains’ balanced attack saw 12 players get into the scoring column. Snively had nine, Alexia Lindsey added eight, and Crumppoured in seven for the Captains. CNU also grabbed 16 steals on the defensive end, led by three by Rader and two apiece for Malagar, Lindsey, Creed, and Crump.

Southern Virginia was led by Ruth Kempler with 14 points and a game-high 11 rebounds. She also had five blocks for the Knights, but the visitors were held to just eight points in the first and fourth quarters as the CNU defense clamped down for the home win.

Christopher Newport is now 262-38 all-time in the Freeman Center for a winning percentage of 87.3%. In the 11 seasons under head coach Bill Broderick, the Captains are 123-11 at home for an even more impressive 91.7%. And in the five-year career of Katy Rader, Christopher Newport has never lost a game at home for a perfect 40-0 record at the Freeman Center.

The Captains will close out the 2023-24 regular season this Saturday at Warren Wilson College with tip against the Owls slated for 1:00 p.m. Following the finale, Christopher Newport will return home to host the Coast-To-Coast Athletic Conference Tournament from February 22-24.

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