Tuesday, April 16, 2024

No. 4 CNU Women’s Basketball Rolls into Seventh Straight Conference Championship Game as Top-Seeded Captains Down Salisbury, 80-58

(Erin Farina/CNU Athletics)

NEWPORT NEWS — Advancing to the team’s seventh consecutive conference championship game appearance, the fourth-ranked Christopher Newport women’s basketball team led start to finish in the Coast-To-Coast Athletic Conference Semifinals against No. 4-seed Salisbury (9-17) on Saturday evening, cruising to an 80-58 win at home.

The Captains improved to 25-1 overall and will face off against No. 2-seed Mary Washington in the 2024 C2C Championship at 7 p.m. on Saturday night.

Hosting the Coast-To-Coast Athletic Conference Tournament for the first time in the league’s four-year existence, the Christopher Newport faithful were treated to yet another win at the Freeman Center in postseason play. The Captains have now won 52 straight home games dating back to early in the 2018-19 season when CNU last suffered a loss at home on December 1, 2018.

In Friday night’s triumph, three CNU players finished in double figures including first team All-Conference forward Hannah Kaloi with a team-high 13 points and second-team All-League senior Alivia Giles, with 12 points. Rounding out the trio of top scorers was freshman Mia Wilson, who scored all 12 of her points in the fourth quarter including ten from the free-throw line.

After a slow start by both teams, the score was knotted at 4-4 through nearly four minutes of action. The Captains then looked inside on a lob to Kaloi and quickly grabbed a steal and a fast-break runout by Camille Malagar. The senior guard finished through heavy contact and then connected on the free-throw to take a five-point lead. Katy Rader then finished on a beautiful feed from Alexia Lindsey and the speedy 7-0 run gave the Captains some breathing room.

By the end of the first quarter, the Captains had built an 11-point lead, 19-8, after Nicole Timko finished on the offensive glass and two possessions later found Malagar for a buzzer-beating jumper in the lane. Salisbury trimmed the lead to five on a pair of three-pointers to start the second quarter, but a three-point play by Kaloi and a three-pointer from Rader kept the Captains in control. Giles also had a traditional three-point play moments later and the Captains lead grew to 12 with 6:38 showing on the first-half clock, 30-18.

Salisbury rallied again, trying to answer each of the Captains’ mini-runs, but after pulling to within seven, 36-29, CNU scored six straight to build a lead that would never again dip into single digits.

A dominant third quarter put the game out of reach as a pair of McKenna Snively three-pointers to end the period gave Christopher Newport a 20-point edge heading into the final ten minutes. The lead would build to as many as 26 when Caitlin Crump sank a free-throw with 5:47 remaining, 70-44, and Mia Wilson took the reins from there. The freshman was fouled seven times, including on a tough three-point play with 6:20 remaining, and would knock down 10-of-13 shots from the free-throw line. She also assisted on Jessica Dornak’s layup with less than 90 seconds remaining and snagged a defensive rebound in just eight minutes of action.

In addition to Snively’s two triples and the aforementioned three by Rader, sophomore Hailey Kellogg snapped the twine with a long-range bucket to go with two beautiful drives to the basket. She finished with seven points, two assists, and two rebounds off the bench. All 16 active players hauled in at least one rebound for the Captains as they won the battle of the boards against Salisbury, 40-34. CNU also grabbed 18 offensive rebounds leading to 23 second-chance points.

Hailey Ader led the way for the Sea Gulls, scoring 20 points and adding seven rebounds. Nicole Miller also finished in double figures with 17 points.

Christopher Newport is now set to defend it’s four-time conference championship crown on Saturday against Mary Washington. CNU has won five of the last six conference tournaments including the first-ever run of four straight culminating in last year’s championship run. Live video and live stats are available online and tip is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.

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