Sam Porter Leads No. 7/10 CNU Women's Basketball Into Sweet 16 With 69-51 Win Over Lynchburg

More news about: Christopher Newport

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- Behind a tireless defensive effort and another standout performance by junior Sam Porter, the seventh-ranked Christopher Newport women's basketball team danced into the NCAA Sweet 16 for the second straight year. A 69-51 win over Lynchburg College (23-7) powered the Captains to their sixth consecutive run at least as deep as the Sectional Round, and the seventh all-time appearance in the third round for the Captains. 

Porter scored a game-high 22 points on the offensive end and broke the progam record for steals in an NCAA Tournament game, with seven, which had stood since 1992. Karen Barefoot grabbed six steals against Marymount on March 7, 1992, and Tia Perry matched that effort against Guilford on March 1, 2013. 

Making the program's sixth NCAA Tournament appearance in the last eight seasons, including four under fifth-year head coach Bill Broderick, the Captains continued their run of recent success in the postseason, marching to the Sweet 16 for the sixth straight time. CNU improves to 9-3 in the NCAA Tournament under coach Broderick, while also compiling a 16-5 overall record in the tourney since 2010. Along with that tremendous success, CNU improved to 9-0 in the Freeman Center, and 11-0 all-time at home during NCAA Tournament play. 

The win came following a hot start by Christopher Newport, as the home team built a double-digit lead early in the first quarter, and never let the Hornets pull any closer than five the rest of the way. Lynchburg never led, as CNU put together it's second straight wire-to-wire win to open NCAA Tournament play. 

Both teams struggled in the early going, as CNU held just a 6-4 edge five minutes into the contest. The Captains offense started to find some easy shots late in the quarter, powered by the defense of Sam Porter. Porter grabbed four steals, including two that led to fast-break layups, and finished the opening stanza with eight points. The late surge in the first gave CNU a 24-14 advantage, that would grow to a 16-point lead, 31-15, just 3:20 into the second quarter. Makenzie Fancher drilled her second three-pointer and Makeda Wright capped a strong start to the game with a bucket to make it 31-15. 

Just when it looked like the Captains might run away with the game, however, the Hornets put together an 11-0 run of their own to get it back to within five points, 31-26, with 1:41 remaining in the first half. Needing a bucket, junior Devon Byrd called her own number on the next possession and drove from the elbow to the bucket, laying in a right-handed shot to stop the run. Then, after a turnover by Lynchburg, Zhara Tannor found Micah Maloney open underneath for a nice up-and-under lay-in for the freshman. With the mini 4-0 spurt to end the half, CNU took a 35-26 edge into the break. 

The teams matched eachother through the third quarter, as the Captains had an answer for every run by Lynchburg. Twice the Hornets managed to cut the lead to seven, but each time the Captains answered on their next possession to push the lead back to nine. 

In the final quarter, the Captains relentless defense proved too much for the Lynchburg squad, who turned the ball over six more times in the final stanza. CNU made it pay off on the offensive end, extending their double digit lead again and holding on for the 18-point victory. The CNU defense forced 22 turnovers, and grabbed 14 steals. Porter led the way with seven, while Tannor added a pair. CNU also held the Hornets to 37.5% shooting (21-56), including a paltry 11.1% from long range (2-18). The Captains improved to 22-0 this season when holding their opponent to under 60 points. 

The Captains dished out 15 assists on 23 made baskets, with Tannor leading that effort with five dimes. Bailey Dufrene kicked in three, while Makeda Wright and Anitra Thomas each had a pair. Maloney had a team-high six rebounds off the bench, while Fancher matched that number. Fancher also finished in double figures, with 13 points, thanks in part to a 7-8 effort from the free-throw line. 

Lynchburg got 17 points from Brittany Afolabi-Brown on 8-10 shooting, and 12 points out of Sarah Coronel on 6-9 shooting. The rest of the team managed just 7 made baskets on 37 total attempts. Afolabi-Brown added a game-high nine rebounds, falling just shy of a double-double. 

Christopher Newport advances to play Hope College (24-4), ranked No. 18 in the latest Top 25, who upset two-time defending national champion Thomas More in the second round, 74-67. The sectional will also feature SUNY Geneseo (28-1) and Ohio Northern (29-0) with a location to be determined by the NCAA later this weekend. 

In addition to the Captains victory, the Capital Athletic Conference also saw Marymount University advance to the Round of 16, marking only the second time in league history that two teams have advanced as far in the same season. In 2012, York College (Pa.) and Mary Washington each advanced to the sectional round. 

More information on the Captains' trip to the Sweet 16 will be posted on following the announcement from the NCAA.