NEWPORT NEWS, VA – In a highly anticipated match up of nationally ranked squads, the #15/#17 Christopher Newport Captains upset the #8 York College Spartans 67-64 in overtime in Capital Athletic Conference play in Newport News, VA on Saturday.
The loss ends York's school-record start to the season as they fall to 18-1 overall and 10-1 in the CAC. The Captains, winners of 11 straight, improve to 16-2 overall and 9-1 in the conference.
The game truly lived up to all the expectations. Over the 45 minutes of play, there were 11 ties and 14 lead changes. It was one of the great contests of the 2013-14 CAC campaign to date.
The Spartans would have lost in regulation had senior All-American Brittany Hicks (Dover, Pa./York Catholic) not made yet another clutch play. The Captains got a Camry Green free throw with 25 seconds left to take a 57-54 lead. The Captains forced a Spartan turnover but Chantal Thomas missed the front end of the one and one with 17 seconds left. Hicks collected the rebound and York called timeout with 11 seconds left. The Spartans inbounded the ball and it looked like the Captains shut off the Spartan options. With the clock ticking down, Hicks launched a triple that hit the back of the iron and sank to the bottom of the net for the game-tying triple with just 2.4 seconds left in regulation. CNU would not get a shot off as the squads headed to an extra session.
In overtime, York took a two-point lead on an Aja Wallpher (Ellicott City, Md./Seton Keough) jumper with 1:38 left. The Spartans got a key stop but turned the ball over on the ensuing inbounds play to give the Captains a second chance. CNU's Tia Perry was fouled with 48 seconds left and she sunk both to tie the game. York turned the ball over again, and again, committed a foul as Nicole Mitchell stepped to the line in a tie game with 42 ticks left. Mitchell made the first but missed the second. Andrea Hobbs made a game-changing play as she collected the offensive rebound and hit a back-breaking put back to give the Captains a 64-61 lead with 41 seconds left.
Hicks was fouled with 26 seconds left and the senior split the pair to draw York to within two. Mitchell was fouled with 16 ticks left and converted both to give CNU a four point margin. Wallpher hit a driving layup with nine seconds left but York was forced to foul and Perry split the pair to seal the win. Hicks' long three to tie the game a second time wouldn't fall as York suffered its first loss of the year.
Perry and Mitchell combined to power CNU in the win. Perry tossed in 21 points and pulled in nine rebounds. She also had three assists and five steals in her 39 minutes of work. Perry had to work for her points as she was 6-for-19 from the floor but she made hay at the free throw line, converting 9-of-11 for the game. Mitchell recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds. Mitchell was 6-for-14 from the floor including 2-for-5 from there and 3-for-4 at the stripe. Mitchell also had five steals in the victory. Green was huge for the Captains with 15 points and 15 rebounds for the double-double. Green, who is back in the lineup after missing the first half of the season with an injury, did not play in the first game between the two teams in December. Hobbs was the fourth Captain in double figures with 10 points while she dished out six assists.
Hicks and Kristen Haley (Silver Spring, Md./Georgetown Visitation) led the Spartans with 21 points each. Hicks was 8-for-14 from the field including one three while she was also 4-for-5 from the stripe. Hicks pulled in eight rebounds while she also had a steal in 43 minutes of play. Haley had her 21 points on 9-of-14 and 1-for-1 from three and 2-for-2 from the line. Haley added two assists, two blocked shots and two steals. Wallpher was the third Spartan in double figures with 11 points. Wallpher added seven rebounds, five assists, three steals and a blocked shot.
The turning point on the stat sheet was the Captains' dominance on the glass. CNU outrebounded the Spartans 50-34 including 22 offensive rebounds, which led to a crushing 20 second chance points. The Captains also held a big advantage at the stripe as they made 32 trips to the charity stripe while York attempted only 16 freebies. CNU converted 25 of their free throws while York made just nine, a plus-16 for the Captains at the stripe.
The first half of the game was tight after a quick start by the hosts. CNU jumped out to a five point lead early only to have York rip off six straight points to take their first lead of the day. Neither team could push out to anything more than a three point lead over the final 12 minutes of the half. The Captains took a one-point lead to the break after Perry cashed in a pair of free throws with 36 seconds left. It is just the second time this year that York has trailed at the break.
The second half was equally back and forth. CNU took a six point lead twice in the opening five minutes of the second half. York battled back to take a two-point lead on a Haley three-point play with 8:58 left. That would start a stretch where there would be four ties and two lead changes leading up to Hicks' triple to force OT.
York held the Captains to 31.7% shooting from the field including just 2-for-14 from three. The Spartans shot 44.8% from the floor and 27.3% (3-for-11) from three. York shot a season-low 56.3% from the free throw line.
The Spartans committed 20 turnovers while the Captains had 19 miscues of their own. CNU recorded 14 steals, which led to 21 points off turnovers. York actually had more points off turnovers with 23 off the 19 CNU miscues.
The Spartans return to action on Wednesday night when they return home to host Wesley College in a CAC contest. Tip time in York is set for 6:00 pm.