CNU Women’s Basketball Escapes Washington and Lee in Captivating Double Overtime Thriller, 104-102
LEXINGTON, Va. — In one of the wildest finishes in program history, the Christopher Newport women’s basketball team remained undefeated with a 104-102 double-overtime victory on the road Sunday evening, downing Washington and Lee University.
The Captains (14-0) climbed out of a ten-point deficit in the fourth quarter to force extra time and then appeared to win the game at the buzzer in the overtime period. After time expired and as the teams approached the handshake line, a technical foul was whistled against Christopher Newport. Hannah Malik, the ODAC leader in FT shooting this season, buried both free throws allowing the home team to tie the game up, 93-93, and force a second overtime.
Moments later, the officials called a second technical foul and after a lengthy review, it was determined the free-throws would be assessed at the start of the second OT period. Malik sank both again, going 10-for-10 from the charity stripe and giving Washington and Lee a 95-93 advantage heading into the second overtime.
The top-ranked Captains appeared energized by the wild finish and the Captains Chaos defense ratcheted up the pressure. On the first two possessions, Katy Rader snagged back-to-back steals that led to buckets for Christopher Newport. First, a double-team led to a tip and Rader lobbed a long pass to Anaya Simmons for the run-out. Then, CNU took the lead after another steal by Rader that set up a go-ahead jumper by Hannah Kaloi in the paint. The Captains finished out a 6-0 run with a pair of free-throws to take a 99-95 edge.
With less than two minutes remaining, the teams traded buckets as Kaloi added another tough driving layup to make it 101-96 before Lauren Achter finished a traditional three-point play to cut the lead to two. The CNU defense would force two more turnovers in the final minute and Washington and Lee chose to extend the game with an off-ball foul against Alivia Giles with 19.8 seconds remaining. Giles hit one-of-two from the line and Christopher Newport took a three-point lead, 102-99. After a timeout, Malik received the inbounds pass and tossed up a miracle three from long range to tie the game again, 102-all.
Christopher Newport quickly raced up the floor with Camille Malagar, who had hit the would-be gamewinner in the first overtime, driving the basketball with her left hand. Her first attempt with just over ten seconds remaining caromed off the iron and the Generals had time to make a play back up the court for the winner. Instead, it was Rader again with a huge defensive play as she leaped and ricocheted a pass across the middle. The ball landed in the hands of Malagar, who blitzed into the paint, drew a double-team, and passed through the pair for Rader at the buzzer. The senior from York, Pa. gathered the pass and finished with 0.1 seconds remaining, finally winning the game for the Captains.
The thrilling battle included seven disqualifications and 63 personal fouls whistled. CNU finished the game 64.9 percent from the line (24-37) and the home team managed 62.9 percent from the charity stripe (22-35).
Prior to the theatrics in extra time, the game was already one of the finest Division III bouts this season as Washington and Lee and Christopher Newport saw the lead trade hands 13 times with 14 ties. The Captains led by as many as five in the first half before the Generals took a 40-36 advantage at halftime. The home team extended the lead to as many as ten, 75-65, with 6:03 left in the fourth quarter. From there, Christopher Newport closed on a 13-3 run, led by Hannah Kaloi with seven points in the spurt. In an indication of her clutch moments to come, it was junior guard Camille Malagar that hit the game-tying shot in the final minute to force overtime.
In the first overtime period, the Captains led briefly, 82-81, after a nice finish by Anaya Simmons, but Washington and Lee teetered back in front as they attempted to upset the top-ranked Captains. The Generals took an 89-85 lead on a pair of free-throws with less than two minutes to go before Kaloi again took over, hitting a pull-up jumper at the elbow and a game-tying turn-around in the lane with 41 seconds left. Simmons was doing the work on the defensive end, drawing a huge offensive foul for the Captains to get the ball back.
The teams traded perfect trips to the free-throw line in the final 30 seconds of OT, including Malagar burying two to take the lead. After Sofia Feigelson answered, the Captains had a chance to win the game with the final possession. Taking the ball around the Washington and Lee free-throw line, Malagar went the distance, driving with her left hand inside the perimeter before spinning, turning to her right and lofting a soft jumper into the bucket with 2.1 seconds showing on the clock. The bucket sent the Captains bench into a frenzy as Washington and Lee was unable to connect before time expired.
Malagar scored the game-tying shot in regulation, the go-ahead bucket at the buzzer in overtime, and assisted on the game-winning shot by Rader in the second OT period.
As part of the thrilling matchup, sophomore forward Hannah Kaloi notched a career-high 29 points on 12-of-16 shooting while grabbing eight rebounds. Senior forward Anaya Simmons also notched a career-high with 28 points on 10-of-14 shooting while hauling in a double-double with 13 rebounds. Sondra Fan connected on four three-pointers and finished with 19 points while Malagar rounded out a quartet in double figures with 12 points, six assists, and three steals.
Christopher Newport was originally scheduled to make up a previously postponed game with William Peace University on Monday evening, but that game has been canceled by the Pacers. CNU’s next outing will be on Wednesday evening at the University of Mary Washington at 6:00 p.m.