#2 CNU Women's Hoops Falls in CAC Semifinals to #3 Mary Washington, 77-63

More news about: Christopher Newport

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- Facing the challenge of beating the same team three times in one season, the 20th-ranked and second-seeded Christopher Newport women's basketball team fell short on Thursday evening, falling in the Capital Athletic Conference Semifinals to third-seeded Mary Washington, 77-63. An impressive 36-point performance by Kendall Parker powered the 22nd-ranked Eagles (23-4) into the CAC Championship against top-seeded Marymount on Saturday, while the Captains fall to 22-4 overall this season. 

CNU, ranked fourth in the Mid-Atlantic Region by the NCAA committee this week, was forced onto the bubble and will await the decision of the national championship committee to see if they have done enough to capture an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.

Thursday's third game of the season against Mary Washington was a stark contrast to the previous two matchups, in which neither team managed to reach 60 points scored in a pair of defensive struggles. In the CAC Semifinal, both teams came out of the gate clicking offensively and set the pace for a high-paced offensive battle. 

CNU raced out to an eight point lead, 13-5, as freshman Jessica Daguilh kicked off what would be another career performance from the floor. She scored four of the first 13 points, including a nice scoop off the glass to give the Captains a game-high lead. Sophomore Jasmine Bonivel assisted on the bucket and also hit a three-pointer in the early run. 

Mary Washington answered the run with one of their own, running off eight straight points including five from Parker to tie things up at 13. Parker had nine points with a pair of triples and an old-fashioned three-point play. It would kick off a performance that saw her go 11-for-17 from the floor and match the CAC record for made three-pointers in a game, with eight. 

In the second quarter, Mary Washington stretched the lead to 10, 30-20, on a pair of free-throws by Elizabeth Dofflemyer before the Captains countered with eight straight poitns to pull back within a pair, 30-28. Four different players scored in the spurt as Sam Porter knocked down a pair of free-throws followed by layups from Devon Byrd, Bailey Dufrene and Anitra Thomas. 

The Eagles managed to stomach the run and quickly responded with a 7-2 run, including five more from Parker, to take a 37-30 halftime lead. The Eagles' sophomore guard had 17 points on 6-9 shooting, including 4-7 from deep, in the first half. Brianne Comden, the league's leading scorer, had 10 points on 5-6 shooting, also helping lead the visitors to a 50% shooting performance in the first half on 14-28 attempts. 

CNU was also hitting at a high clip, knocking down 47.8% of their shots, and were led by seven points from Daguilh and five for Thomas. 

In the third quarter, Mary Washington appeared primed to hold off the Captains, taking a 12-point lead with 3:39 showing on the clock, 49-37. Christopher Newport would not go down easily, however, chipping away at the lead for the remainder of the quarter. A step-back trey from Makeda Wright keyed a small 7-1 run to pull back within seven, 50-43, and three straight free throws made at the end of the quarter cut it down to six, 52-46. 

Again, Mary Washington was able to match the Captains for the first half of the fourth quarter, until a key steal by Porter with 4:28 left got CNU some life. On the ensuing offensive possession, Porter found Daguilh under the basket for a layup, and the freshman forward then earned a bruising steal on the other end, standing her ground as Dofflemyer tried to drive to the basket. After the theft, Makenzie Fancher raced to the basket for a fast-break bucket and was fouled, converting the free-throw for the traditional three-point play. The free-throw pulled CNU back within two points, 61-59, and had CNU fans on their feet with 3:38 to play. 

That would be as close as they would draw however, as Parker caught fire again down the stretch. She buried a three-pointer and answered two CNU free-throws with a layup. After a missed shot by CNU, Parker converted a four-point play that put Mary Washington up by nine with less than a minute and a half to go, 70-61. With the game all but sealed up, Parker hit two more free-throws and then tied the conference record with her eighth three-pointer with 11 seconds left in the game. She finished with 36 points on 11-17 shooting, including 8-12 from long range. 

Daguilh led the way all night for the Captains, registering a new career-high with 21 points on 7-14 shooting. She added a game-high nine rebounds, falling just shy of a double-double, while also blocking three shots and picking up four steals. Fancher was the only other CNU player in double figures, with 10 points, while Porter joined Daguilh with a game-high four steals. 

Both teams shot well from the field as CNU came away knocking down 40% (20-50) and the Eagles were at 49% (25-51) for the game. 

Mary Washington will advance to play Marymount in the CAC Championship on Saturday, after the Saints held off fourth-seeded York (Pa.) to advance in the other semifinal matchup.