SALISBURY, Md. – With 48 seconds left in regulation, freshman Kaylyn French hit a driving layup that got the Salisbury University women's basketball team within one point against No. 24 Christopher Newport University on Wednesday evening, but the Sea Gulls fell just short against the Captains, 55-52, in Capital Athletic Conference play.
Christopher Newport (18-2, 11-2 CAC) got off to a fast start, opening the game on a 9-2 run that lasted over seven minutes of the first quarter. Devon Byrd tallied four points during the run.
Salisbury (10-10, 6-7 CAC) answered back with a 6-2 stretch that got the team within three points. Three Sea Gulls scored during the spurt, including senior Julia McLaughlin on a fastbreak layup after collecting a pass from sophomore Mary McDonagh that was sent right by a defender in the paint.
The Captains' offense got hot again, using another 9-2 run that stretched almost halfway into the second quarter, as they built a 20-10 lead with 6:36 left before halftime. Sam Porter scored all but two points during the spurt.
The Sea Gulls would not back down before the end of the half and went on a 12-2 run, tying the game at 22-22 with 2:17 left before the break. Junior Lauren Rothfeld had a hot hand during the stretch, notching six points, including a three pointer from the top of the key. Rothfeld would finish with a team-high 14 points to go along with six rebounds.
Christopher Newport went into halftime on a 6-1 run, holding a 28-23 advantage at the break. Jessica Daguilh scored four points during the span.
The Salisbury defense played strong during the first two quarters, tallying nine blocks during the first half, including six from McLaughlin.
The Captains started off the second half on a high note, using an 8-2 run to build a 36-25 lead with 5:54 left in the third. Byrd notched four points during the run.
The Sea Gulls responded with a 6-2 run to cut the lead to 38-31 with 3:55 left in the period, highlighted by four points from McLaughlin, including a layup from the left side after a ball fake at the foul line.
Christopher Newport closed out the third on an 8-4 spurt, building a 46-35 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
In the fourth, Salisbury's offense got going early, using a 10-2 run that lasted almost three minutes to cut the Captains' lead to three points at 48-45. Rothfeld continued her strong play during the stretch, scoring five points, including a long ball from the middle; her second of the day.
The Captains retaliated by scoring five points in a row to take an eight point lead with 4:15 left in the fourth, but the Sea Gulls were not done.
Salisbury proceeded to go on a 7-0 run to get within one point at 53-52 with 49 seconds to go in regulation. French led the Gulls during the span with four points, including the driving layup from the middle that cut Christopher Newport's lead to one point.
Despite the late rally, the Captains were able to hold the Sea Gulls scoreless for the final 48 seconds, and hit two free throws down the stretch to close out the game.
McLaughlin finished with 10 points, five rebounds, and a career-high eight blocks in the contest, while French tallied nine points and six rebounds in the game.
The Sea Gulls will be back at home on Saturday, February 6, when they host the University of Mary Washington in another CAC matchup. That game is slated for 2 p.m.