Saturday women: CAC, NJAC remain in a battle

Brianne Comden helped Mary Washington stay in the logjam at the top of the Capital Athletic Conference, with three teams within one game of each other.
Mary Washington athletics file photo

Much has been made of the four teams on top of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference this season, but the WIAC isn't the only conference in Division III women's basketball with a logjam at the top. The Capital Athletic Conference has a similar look, and the four teams all squared off on Saturday in a possible preview of conference semifinals.

Jessica Daguilh scored a game-high 20 points, Devon Byrd added 14 points and 16 rebounds, and it's a good thing, too, as their teammates combined to shoot just 8-for-37 from the floor in No. 18 Christopher Newport's 59-51 win at York (Pa.). Daguilh was a perfect 7-for-7 from the floor in the second half as CNU pulled out to an 11-point lead in the fourth quarter on the way to improving to 21-2, 14-2 in the Capital Athletic Conference. York fell to 17-6, 11-5. 

CNU moved into a tie for the top spot in the CAC after No. 23 Mary Washington defeated Marymount 48-34. Brianne Comden and Elizabeth Dofflemyer each scored in double figures for the Eagles (19-4, 13-3), while Marymount (19-4, 14-2) shot just 11-for-53 from the floor and 0-for-15 from 3-point range in the loss. There's a three-game gap between York and fifth-place Salisbury in the CAC standings.

There's a three-way tie atop the NJAC, between Stockton, Montclair State and Rowan. Stockton (20-4, 14-3) allowed just nine points in the third quarter and pulled away from Kean for a 77-63 victory. The win, the 18th in their last 19 games, gave the Ospreys their second straight season with 20 wins. Kaitlin Schullstrom had a game-high 31 points for Rowan as the Profs kept pace by winning 82-68 at Rutgers-Newark, while Montclair had an easy time of it vs. New Jersey City, defeating the 1-22 Gothic Knights 79-44.

Molly McGraw scored 17 points for Illinois Wesleyan which beat North Park in the Titans' "Pink Zone" game on Saturday.
Illinois Wesleyan athletics photo by Claire Hoverson

The CCIW conference title chase involves only two teams but neither has margin for error. No. 25 Wheaton (Ill.) rolled over Carthage 79-49 to remain tied atop the standings with Illinois Wesleyan. The Titans forced 28 North Park turnovers and defeated the Vikings 63-55. North Park (16-8, 7-6), dropped into a three-way tie for the final two playoff spots with Elmhurst and North Central (Ill.).

Scranton's Alexix Roman had a double-double with a game-high 23 points and 11 rebounds, as the No. 4 Lady Royals used a big second half to pull away from visiting Goucher 69-51. Scranton is now a perfect 23-0 on the year and 14-0 in the Landmark Conference, one win away from matching the best start in program history (24-0 during the 1994-95 season).

There hasn't been any intrigue as to who will win the Presidents' Athletic Conference, but No. 1 Thomas More moved one game closer to formally doing so. The Saints defeated Washington and Jefferson 88-57 behind Sydney Moss' near triple-double (25 points, 10 rebounds, eight assists). Thomas More clinched a share of the title and the top spot in the conference tournament.

No. 2 George Fox and No. 3 Hope also moved closer to completing perfect regular seasons. The Bruins won at Whitman 68-61 to complete the season sweep of the Missionaries as Justine Benner scored 25 points. Hope clinched a share of the MIAA title with a 71-53 victory over Albion.

St. Thomas needed an extra five minutes, but the 45 minutes was just enough for the Tommies to avenge a humbling January loss as they edged Bethel on the road, 69-67. St. Thomas (20-3, 14-2 MIAC) held on despite missing three free throws in the final nine seconds. Lauren Fischer scored a game-high 18 points for the eighth-ranked Tommies, as Bethel, which won at UST by 20 points on Jan. 9, had a four-game win streak snapped and fell to 14-9, 10-6.

Kiersten Taylor hit a jump shot in the closing seconds as Otterbein knocked off its crosstown rival, upsetting No. 20 Capital by a 55-53 margin. No. 22 University of New England had five players in double figures and never trailed in a 76-68 Commonwealth Coast Conference win vs. Roger Williams, dropping the Hawks out of second place in the CCC.

Aurora showed on Saturday that it, too, had the NACC's knack for buzzer beaters, as Ashley Wilk tipped in a miss at the final horn to lift the Spartans past Concordia (Wis.) 55-54. The shot capped Aurora's comeback from a nine-point fourth-quarter deficit and kept the Spartans in fourth place alone with two games left in the conference season.

Westminster (Mo.) defeated Webster 73-60 and earned the right to host the four-team SLIAC tournament in two weeks. Krista Armontrout scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Blue Jays (18-4, 14-2 SLIAC).

In a game that is unlikely to appear on anyone's best-played list this season, Hiram shot just 17-for-60 from the floor and was outrebounded 36-27, but won because the Terriers harrassed Oberlin into 34 turnovers. Hiram held Oberlin scoreless for a 9:41 stretch in the third and fourth quarter, which allowed the Terriers to go on an 18-0 run. Oberlin got off just five shots during that stretch.