Playing with a young squad in their season opener, EMU's basketball women gave nationally-ranked Christopher Newport all they could handle before falling 63-50 at home Saturday evening. The Royals held No. 15 CNU to just 25 second-half points but couldn't overcome their halftime deficit.
After the encouraging effort against a team which went to the Sweet 16 last spring, the women travel on Tuesday to play at Penn State-Harrisburg. Game time is 5:00pm.
Eastern Mennonite scored first in the contest and flustered the Captains' starting five all night. Led by senior Jonae Guest (Dumfries, Va./Potomac) and freshman Chloe Roach (Leesburg, Va./Tuscarora) early, the women worked to a 10-5 lead midway through the first period, before their guests closed on a 10-0 run.
The margin stayed at two possessions until EMU went cold, trailing 19-16 with 6:39 left in the half. Christopher Newport then scored five straight and took off. Makeda Wright nailed a three pointer at the buzzer, giving the Captains a 19-7 run to end the half and a 38-23 cushion.
The teams treaded water in the third before Eastern Mennonite turned up the defense at the start of the final period, holding CNU scoreless over the opening 3:32. Jazmine Carter (Fairfax, Va./Oakton) buried a pair of jumpers and Chrissy Delawder (Broadway, Va./Broadway) put in two free throws, and suddenly the Royals were within 54-46 with 6:45 yet to play.
Despite a vocal home crowd which tried to will in a few more big shots, a historic shooting night kept the women from completing the comeback. They couldn't get closer than eight and the Captains escaped.
CNU's bench made the difference in the game, scoring 49 of their team's 63 points. The Royals did a respectable job against the Captains' vaunted fullcourt pressure, but they couldn't buy a shot from outside. Regarded as one of the top three-point shooting teams in ODAC, Eastern Mennonite finished 0-for-19 from beyond the arc.
EMU shot just 26.7% from the floor, but also held their visitors to only 31.8%. The women were 18-24 from the free throw line compared to 16-27 for CNU.
Roach led all players with 20 points in her first collegiate game. The guard added eight rebounds. Guest scored seven points and grabbed seven offensive boards on her way to a career best 15 rebounds. Carter had seven points and two steals.
Anitra Thomas came off the bench to hit three triples and lead CNU with 12 points. Devon Byrd added 10 and eight rebounds. Sam Porter grabbed a team best 13 boards.