BRIDGEWATER, Va. – Cassidy Burkholder drove the right baseline and her layup in traffic rolled over the front of the rim and into the basket with less than a second remaining to lift Bridgewater College to a 61-59 victory Wednesday evening over Christopher Newport at Nininger Hall.
CNU, ranked No. 18 in two national preseason polls, tied the score with 15 seconds left on Sam Porter's layup. The Eagles advanced the ball to the frontcourt and called timeout with 11 seconds to go. After inbounding the ball, Burkholder was caught in a double team on the perimeter and was forced to call another timeout with four seconds remaining. On the ensuing inbounds play, the Eagles got the ball into Burkholder's hands and the junior guard hit the winning bucket with 0.4 seconds left on the game clock.
Bridgewater, 1-0, was led by Burkholder's game-high 20 points. Teammate Oshene Kelly battled the bigger Captains in the paint and finished with a double-double, scoring a career-high 18 points while grabbing 10 rebounds. Jessica Lam scored nine points and Heather Cantrell added eight for Bridgewater.
Camry Green paced the Captains, now 1-2 on the season, with 16 points and 12 rebounds. Porter added 17 points.
Bridgewater jumped out to a quick 6-2 lead on two free throws by Burkholder and two inside buckets by Kelly. The Captains did not lead in the first half until Jordan Miller's layup gave CNU a 21-20 edge with 7:27 remaining in the half.
The Captains took their biggest lead of the half on a layup by Green, making the score 27-22 at the 4:54 mark.
Two free throws by Cantrell and a layup by Kelly pulled the Eagles to within one before a jumper by Alesha Adams put CNU on top by three, 29-26. A jumper by Lam made it a one-point game and two foul shots by Burkholder pushed the Eagles back into the lead, 30-29.
A layup by Porter switched the upper hand back to CNU, but two free throws by Burkholder and a layup by Kaitlyn Lehan sent the Eagles to the locker room with a 34-31 lead at the half.
The Eagles opened the second half with two buckets from Burkholder to push the lead to seven, 38-31.
The teams traded points with buckets by Burkholder, Kelly and Lam keeping the Eagles' lead at seven points. After the Captains missed two shots at the offensive end, Cantrell knocked down two foul shots, giving Bridgewater its biggest lead of the game, 46-37, with 15:06 left.
The lead didn't last long as CNU hit the Eagles with an 11-1 run to take a one-point lead. A layup by Green and two free throws by Porter cut the margin to five and another inside bucket by Green made it a three-point game, 46-43. Lam hit 1-of-2 free throws for the Eagles before Makeda Wright's jumper closed the gap to two, 47-45. After a Bridgewater turnover, Miller knocked down the Captains' only 3-pointer of the night to put CNU on top 48-47 with 11:09 to go.
Back-to-back layups from Lam and Kelly gave the Eagles a three-point lead before consecutive hoops by CNU's Porter and Wright put the Captains up by a point. Burkholder and CNU's Adams traded buckets before two foul shots by Cantrell gave Bridgewater a 55-54 lead with 5:21 left in the game.
Kelly worked inside and scored following an offensive rebound, but CNU's Porter answered with a jumper as the Eagles led by one, 57-56, with three minutes on the clock.
The teams traded empty possessions until CNU's Jalynn Ponzo went to line and made 1-of-2 foul shots to tie the score, 57-57, with 1:15 remaining.
Kelly took a nice entry pass from Jessi Strom and converted the layup to give the Eagles the lead with 36 ticks left. Porter then hit her game-tying shot, setting the stage for Burkholder's game-winning buzzer beater.
CNU held a 44-38 edge on the boards with 24 of those rebounds coming at the offensive end. The Captains took 32 more shots than the Eagles from the floor, but made just 33.8 percent (25-for-74). CNU could not buy a bucket against Bridgewater's 2-3 zone as the Captains made just 1-of-18 attempts from 3-point range.
Bridgewater shot 47.6 percent from the field, making 20-of-42 shots. The Eagles also cashed in at the foul line by making 21-of-30 for 70 percent accuracy.
The Eagles return to action this weekend with three games in three days. Bridgewater travels to Ashland, Va., for the Randolph-Macon Tip-Off Tournament. The Eagles play Stevenson University on Friday evening at 8 p.m. and then square off with Methodist on Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m. Bridgewater travels to Washington D.C. on Sunday afternoon for a 2 p.m. against Catholic.