GETTYSBURG, Pa. -- As they have time and time again this season, the Christopher Newport women's basketball team paired a suffocating defensive performance with a high-paced, balanced attack as they downed Mount Saint Mary College (23-6) in the second round of the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Championship, 79-52. The Captains improved to 25-5 after pulling away from the Knights to earn the program's fourth straight trip to the NCAA Sectional Semifinals.
CNU is one of only six teams (Amherst, Scranton, St. Thomas, Thomas More, and Tufts) to reach each of the last four rounds of 16. The Captains will be making their sixth appearance in the "Sweet 16" in seven seasons under head coach Bill Broderick and the team's ninth all-time.
Leading the way against the Knights on Saturday night was a pair of rookies in Jessica Foster and Natalie Terwilliger. Both scored a game-high 18 points while Terwilliger also hauled in 12 rebounds for her seventh double-double of the season. Foster buried six of her 10 three-point attempts in the game to give her 79 for the season, just one shy of Chelsie Schweers' rookie record.
Christopher Newport took an early lead behind buckets by Jessica Daguilh and Kiana Kirkland. Daguilh scored five of the first seven points before Mount Saint Mary went on an 11-2 run of their own to take their lone lead of the game at 11-9. Morina Bojka laid it in off an assist by Lauren Desrats with 1:10 left in the opening quarter to force a CNU timeout. From there, it was all Captains.
Jasmine Norman slammed in a three-pointer out of the 30-second break and then hit a free-throw on the Captains' next possession. With less than 20 seconds left, Zhara Tannor earned a steal and finished on the fast-break through contact for a traditional three-point play. Just like that, the lead was back to four for CNU, 16-12, and the Captains never trailed again.
A three-point barrage started the second quarter as CNU built the lead into double figures quickly. Foster hit a pair followed by one from Phylicia McInnis and the first triple from Natalie Terwilliger with 7:26 left in the first half. After Norman blocked a shot, Terwilliger grabbed the rebound and started the runout to Foster. She found fellow freshman Julia Hobbs on the run for a layup and CNU tacked on two more after another steal when Norman converted off an assist by McInnis. It was a 14-0 run that distanced the Captains by 16 points with just under seven minutes left in the half, 33-17. The Captains would carry a 15-point edge into the locker room, 38-23.
After both teams struggled at the start of the third quarter, Katie Smith connected on a layup for the first bucket of the half to cut the lead to 13. That would be as close as Mount Saint Mary would get though, as the Captains answered with a three-pointer by Sondra Fan and outscored the Knights by 12 in the second half for the final margin of victory of 27 points, 79-52.
Terwilliger and Foster took over in the fourth quarter with a combined 20 points. Foster was 3-for-4 from beyond the arc in the fourth for nine points while Terwilliger went 5-of-8 from the field for 11 points with 7 rebounds. The Captains set a new program record for made three-pointers in an NCAA Tournament game with 11 while also dishing out 20 assists on 28 made baskets.
The Captains defense held the Knights to just 38.9% shooting (19-65) and forced 21 turnovers. CNU had 11 steals, led by Tannors' four, while eight different players grabbed at least one steal in the game.
Kayla Cleare led Mount Saint Mary with 15 points and 11 rebounds while Katie Smith tacked on 12 points. The Knights were just 2-for-15 from three-point land and shot just 12-of-24 from the free-throw line.
Christopher Newport will face 9th-ranked Scranton in next weekend's sectional semifinal round. The two teams matched up in the Round of 16 during the 2016 version of the postseason event when the Royals were ranked No. 3 in the country. Game time, location and more will be announced by the NCAA later this evening. More information will be available at CNUsports.com as it is made available.