NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – The Salisbury University women's basketball team hit a bump in the road in its regular season finale, falling to Coast-to-Coast Athletic Conference (C2C) archrival and top-ranked Christopher Newport, 76-62, on Saturday night at the Freeman Center.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- The Sea Gulls' momentum from Wednesday's win over Mary Washington carried over into a stellar first quarter. Lauren Fortescue, Kaylee Otlowski and Emily Dilger each hit field goals to give SU a 6-0 lead three minutes in before the Captains went on a 9-2 run of their own, taking a 9-8 lead at the 4:31 mark on a Natalie Terwilliger layup.
- The teams went back-and-forth for the next three minutes, with Fortescue tying it at 13-13 with a jumper at the 1:13 mark. Tied again at 18-15 with 32 seconds to go, Kylie Webb knocked down a three-pointer, and Hailey Ader sank a pair of free throws just before the buzzer to give the Sea Gulls a 20-15 lead after one.
- Dilger flicked in a layup on Salisbury's first possession of the second quarter to make it 22-15. At that point CNU tightened the screws and made life hard for the Sea Gulls for the rest of the period. The Captains regained the lead with an 11-0 run over the next four minutes, with Anaya Simmons capping the rally on a layup that made it 26-22 at the 5:57 mark.
- Fortescue broke up the run with a layup, but the Captains hit the next three in a row to build the lead to 32-24. After Webb's layup got it back to 32-26, Gabbi San Diego nailed a triple in the final minute before halftime, and CNU went into the break ahead by nine at 35-26.
- A pair of Otlowski free throws and an Abby Wilkinson jumper brought Salisbury back to 35-30 early in the third quarter, but Sondra Fan sank a trey to swing momentum back toward the Captains, who rode a pair of San Diego free throws to a 40-32 cushion at the 6:35 mark.
- Down 45-38 with 2:51 to go, post presence Ader suddenly caught fire from distance, hitting two three-pointers in quick succession and sinking another jumper to make it a one-point game at 47-46 with 1:46 remaining.
- CNU took a timeout and regrouped, though. Terwilliger converted inside to jump start an 8-0 run, closing out the third with the Captains' lead restored to 55-46.
- That run proved to be the backbreaker for the Sea Gulls, who never got closer than 10 again after Terwillger made back-to-back layups to open the fourth quarter. Up 63-53 at the 6:45 mark, Terwilliger hit again from close range, sparking a 9-1 that made it 72-54 and salted it away for the Captains.
SALISBURY GAME NOTES
- Hailey Ader broke out for the Sea Gulls with a career-high 19 points in just 15 minutes off the bench. Ader shot 5-of-10 from the floor, including her two treys in the third quarter, and went a perfect 7-of-7 from the free throw line. She also hauled in three rebounds, all on the offensive end.
- One game after eclipsing the 1,000-point mark for her career, Kaylee Otlowski went for 14 points (6-of-16) and 10 boards to register her 30th career double-double and ninth this season. Otlowski also distributed three assists.
- Emily Dilger netted nine points on 4-of-5 shooting, while Lauren Fortescue added eight.
- The Sea Gulls shot 37.5 percent (24-of-64) for the game but posted impressive numbers from the charity stripe, riding Ader's big night to an 84.6 percent (11-of-13) showing.
- Salisbury turned it over 13 times but forced 14 CNU giveaways. SU managed just four steals on the night.
- The loss snaps the Sea Gulls' seven-game winning streak that began on Jan. 26. Salisbury wraps up the regular season with a 19-5 record.
CHRISTOPHER NEWPORT GAME NOTES
- Natalie Terwilliger proved unstoppable on the inside for the Captains, scoring 25 points (10-of-14) with 16 rebounds for a monster double-double.
- Anaya Simmons shot 7-of-10 from the floor and 6-of-6 from the line to net 20 points off the bench.
- Gabbi San Diego added 10 points in reserve.
- The Captains converted 45 percent (27-of-60) of their field goals and went 16-of-18 (88.9 percent) from the line.
- CNU outrebounded the Sea Gulls 42-34 and 17-16 at the offensive end.
- Christopher Newport finishes off the regular season with a 22-0 record and a 39-game winning streak dating back to the 2019-20 campaign. The Captains will likely hold serve as the nation's top team and all but assured themselves of the top seed in the C2C Tournament.
- The Sea Gulls now await their official pairing in next week's C2C Tournament, set to be hosted by UC Santa Cruz at Kaiser Permanente Arena in Santa Cruz, Calif.
- Salisbury is currently ranked third in the conference in the Massey Ratings, which would lock them into a first-round matchup against sixth-ranked Pratt. That contest would be played on Thursday at 7 p.m. EDT (4 p.m. PDT).
- The winner of that matchup would face the second seed, currently UC Santa Cruz, in the semifinals on Friday at 5 p.m. EDT (2 p.m. PDT).
Salisbury University is a proud member of NCAA Division III with primary membership in the Coast-to-Coast Athletic Conference, along with the New Jersey Athletic Conference for football and the Metropolitan Swimming and Diving Conference for men's and women's swimming. With over 500 student-athletes in 21 varsity sports, SU is recognized as one of the most competitive intercollegiate athletics programs regardless of division, and dedicated coaches and staff that foster excellence on-and-off the field. The Sea Gulls have celebrated 22 team national championships, 24 individual national champions, 186 conference championships and 41 Academic All-Americans.
To learn more about the tradition of excellence with Sea Gull Athletics, visit www.SUSeaGulls.com or on social media @SUSeaGulls.