Men’s and Women’s Basketball take home CAC Championship titles
~Michael Innacelli, Managing CNUTV Editor & Sports Editor~
~Matthew Scherger, BreakingCNU Editor~
With Championship titles on the line, both the Men’s and Women’s basketball teams took care of business in the Freeman Center to continue their dominant play this season.
Big performances from key players are what both teams needed on the way to their victories and both teams got them.
The Men’s team avenged their loss to #2 York College last year in the championship game with a 78-56 showing. They were lead by #3 Marcus Carter and #31 Cutch Ellis. Carter led the court in scoring with a total of 31 points with four three-pointers, and Ellis scored 14 points before fouling out.
With a 83-67 victory over #2 Southern Virginia University, the Women’s team claimed the CAC Championship title for the second time in six years. The two top performers for the Captains on the women’s side were #5 Kiana Kirkland and #3 Zhara Tannor. Kirkland scored 23 points on the back of five three-pointers, and Tannor had 16 points and three three-pointers.
Stellar performances from these four athletes, as well as solid play down the lineup, was all the Captains needed to take home both the CAC Championships.
The Captains looked largely uncontested throughout the tournament, consistently pulling away from their opponents early and often.
The Men’s team first took down #8 Southern Virginia University 89-59 off the three-point performance of #20 Jason Aigner and #3 Marcus Carter, who shot a combined 11 for 20 on the arch.
They then proceeded to outlast #4 Salisbury University. Four Captains scored at least 15 points during the contest on the way to a 87-71 victory.
They capped their tournament play against York. In addition to Carter’s highlight reel of a night, the Captain’s defense played lights-out against the Spartans, posting 6 steals and 38 defensive rebounds. #10 Tyler Femi showed his prowess with 2 steals and 12 of those rebounds.
The Women’s team made sure the men didn’t steal all the headlines, however.
They began their tournament also against the #8 seed, St. Mary’s College (Md.).
#55 Natalie Terwilliger, #15 Sondra Fan and #5 Kiana Kirkland all posted at least 13 points in the contest.
They established a 26-9 lead in the first quarter and coasted their way to a 86-60 victory.
They next faced the Eagles of the University of Mary Washington.
The game was a battle in the first half, but a third quarter effort by the Captains propelled them to a 72-53 win.
#1 Jessica Foster and #30 Jessica Daguilh in particular showed up.
Foster made four of her nine three-point attempts and Daguilh made six field goals.
Their final opponent was against the Knights of SVU. Defensively the Captains posted five blocks and 12 steals.
Fan, Tannor and Kirkland’s 15, 16 and 23 points respectively were enough to clinch the win for the Captains.
The Men’s team will host the first round of the NCAA tournament against Albertus Magnus College, a small private college out of Connecticut.
They are 20-7 and recently captured the GNAC Championship title themselves.
The Captains are in the NCAA for the fourth consecutive year. Their last Final Four appearance was during the 2015-2016 season.
This was during Carter’s sophomore season and Femi’s freshman year. Coach Krikorian has now led the Captains to the NCAA tournament six times.
The 2016-2017 season saw their return to the Sweet Sixteen, but they were unable to replicate this level of success last year.
The Women’s team earned a spot in the NCAA tournament as well, and will travel to Gettysburg College to face the 22-5 Bullets.
Gettysburg is coming off a loss in the Centennial Conference finals but is looking to rebound in their second consecutive NCAA appearance.
The Women’s team has also competed in the tournament in four consecutive seasons.
They have made it to the Sweet 16 twice of the last three years, and made it to the Final Four in the 2016-2017 season.
Coach Bill Broderick has led his team to the NCAA in six of his seven seasons at CNU.
The Men’s team will tip off at 5:30 p.m. on Mar. 1 in the Freeman Center. The Women’s team will play at 7:30 p.m. the same day.