No. 21 CNU Falls in Sweet 16 at No. 3 Scranton, 82-46

More news about: Christopher Newport

SCRANTON, Pa. – Facing the third-ranked University of Scranton Lady Royals (30-0) in the NCAA Sectional Round, the 21st-ranked Christopher Newport Captains battled to the final whistle before seeing their season finish out in an 82-46 final. Scranton advances to play Tufts (26-3) in Saturday's Elite Eight round at 7:00 pm.
"We got beat by a better team tonight, but I'm just so proud of these girls," said head coach Bill Broderick. "The best part about this as it's just the beginning for this team. I really just can't wait to get back in the gym with them."
The Captains' young roster, starting five sophomores and playing almost entirely first- and second-year players, finished out the season with a 24-5 overall record. The impressive run to the Sweet 16 marks the third NCAA finish in four seasons under head coach Bill Broderick in the Sectional Round or better.
In the second half, the Captains' showed off the same stellar team defense it has been used to all season long, forcing 11 turnovers after intermission. In a four-possession stretch during the third quarter, the Captains locked in together and forced a shot-clock violation, ten-second backcourt violation, and got a tough double-team by Makeda Wright and Brooke Basinger to force a timeout.
As the fourth quarter rolled on, the Captains defense only ramped up, getting open court steals and tie-ups against the veteran Scranton squad. Head coach Bill Broderick went to a line-change substitution pattern that saw the Captains using fresh bodies against the Scranton starters. The defense forced five turnovers in the first four minutes of the final frame, and CNU raced out to an 8-2 run in the quarter.  Scranton would collect themselves, however, and held off the frenetic comeback attempt.
CNU was led by Sam Porter, with 13 points on 5-9 shooting, while Devon Byrd added 11 points and nine rebounds. Rookie guard Zhara Tannor finished out the game with nine points, five rebounds and a pair of assists.  
An early 16-0 run helped build a first half lead for the Lady Royals. After the two teams traded baskets to start the game, CNU led 4-3 just two minutes in.  From there, Scranton scored 16 straight points including six from leading scorer Alexix Roman and back-to-back three-pointers by Jaclyn Gantz. The burst took a mere four minutes of game time, but forced Christopher Newport into an uphill battle late in the first quarter.
The Captains held the Lady Royals scoreless for the final 3:27 of the first quarter, and closed on a 6-0 run to get the lead down to single digits, 19-10. Byrd started the small roll with a pair of free-throws, followed by a nice put-back by Tannor with 1:55 left on the clock. The last made basket of the quarter came when CNU strung together a nice series of passes as Thomas found Byrd on the baseline, who sent an extra pass backdoor to Porter for the lay-in.
Scranton outscored CNU in the second quarter, 18-13, extending their halftime lead to 14 at 37-23. CNU looked more comfortable in the offense in the second, but the Lady Royals answered each Captains basket with one of their own.
With 6:20 left in the 2nd quarter, Thomas picked up her second nice assist of the game, dishing to Porter on a cut to the basket to cut the lead to eight, 24-16. On the ensuing possession, the CNU defense looked to lock up Scranton, but one player got loose to break the press and got the lead back to double digits, where it would stay the rest of the half.

After halftime, the Scranton offense ratcheted up the impressive offensive performance, shooting 63.6% from the field after the break. A 26-12 third quarter extended the lead to 63-35 headed into the final frame. 

The Captains struggled from long range all night, going just 1-for-17 from beyond the arc. In the game, CNU shot 26.3% from the field and scored 46 points against one of the nation's toughest defenses. Roman led all scorers with 22 points, while Sarah Payonk added 13 points, 13 rebounds and 6 assists. 
It was the first time in CNU Basketball history that both the men's and women's programs reached the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 in the same season. It was the sixth all-time appearance in the Sectional Round, and third under Coach Broderick. CNU is now 7-3 all-time in the NCAA Tournament under the fourth-year head coach.