NEWPORT NEWS, Va. -- After shaking off a slow start, the nationally-ranked Christopher Newport women's basketball team used a 24-2 run through most of the second quarter to take control and cruise to the team's 11th straight win. The Captains (11-0) closed non-conference action and opened the 2017 slate with a 61-45 victory over the Newport News Apprentice School at home on New Year's Day.
In another well-balanced offensive performance, only one Captain finished in double figures. Junior Sam Porter led the scoring for CNU with 10 points, while also hauling in seven rebounds, grabbing seven steals and blocking a pair of shots.
Christopher Newport overcame a tough shooting night with an impressive defensive performance, highlighted by a dominating second quarter that saw CNU hold the Apprentice School to just 1-of-12 shooting for just six points. The Captains gave up the first point of the quarter on a free-throw by Kamiah Gilbert, but would then proceed to score 17 unanswered points.
Gilbert's free-throw gave the Builders a 13-12 advantage before the Captains roll, which spanned just over five minutes of game tmie. Gilbert hit another free-throw with 4:08 remaining in the stanza, but the CNU defense would not allow a field goal until Ylexzis Traeger banked in a shot with 1:38 left in the first half. The Captains built an 18-point lead at the break, 36-18, powered by a strong second-quarter effort by Anitra Thomas. Thomas scored nine points on a perfect 4-for-4 from the floor, including one three-pointer.
After halftime, the Builders cut into the lead with a strong performance by Traeger, with eight points in the third quarter. As the team's moved into the final quarter, though, it was again the CNU defense that carried the Captains to victory. The Builders managed to convert just one field goal until there was six seconds remaining, when Anatasia Tunis knocked down the last shot of the game for the final, 61-45. CNU led by as many as 20 on three separate occasions when rookies Kiana Kirkland, Erin Carroll, and senior Savannah Melvin each dropped free-throws in the final two minutes.
Junior forward Devon Byrd led another strong performance on the glass, as CNU outrebounded the Builders by ten, 53-43. Byrd hauled in 14 boards for her second straight double-figure performance. CNU scored 14 second-chance points off of 18 offensive rebounds, while also dominating points off of turnovers, 23-7. Traeger led all scorers with 17 points to lead the way for Apprentice, who also saw Quanisha Bruce collect a game-high 15 rebounds.