CHC women survive and advance in playoff quarterfinal

by Tom Utescher
Posted 3/14/24

Chestnut Hill College junior Bri Rider was hoping the Griffins could win last Tuesday's Central Atlantic Conference quarterfinal so that she could return to action in the semifinal round. She got her wish.

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CHC women survive and advance in playoff quarterfinal


Temporarily sidelined with an injury, Chestnut Hill College junior Bri Rider was hoping the Griffins could win last Tuesday's Central Atlantic Conference quarterfinal so that she could return to action in the semifinal round.

She got her wish, but there were some scary moments along the way. Finishing second in the Southern Division of the CACC with a 13-4 record in conference play, CHC hosted Dominican University (Orangeburg, N.Y.), the third seed from the CACC North.

The Dominican Chargers led 31-27 at the half and were ahead 40-32 late in the third quarter. It was after this that CHC senior and Penn Charter grad Kait Carter scored nine of her team-high 14 points. A tough 5'11" guard, Carter battled in the paint to record a game-high 14 rebounds.

Midway through the fourth quarter, Carter bagged a three-pointer that moved Chestnut Hill ahead for good, and the Griffins pulled out a 51-49 victory to reach the conference semifinals. They would play the fourth seed from the South, Goldey Beacom College of Wilmington, Del.

In fact, all the semifinalists came from the CACC South.

Jefferson University, undefeated in the conference and a top-five team nationally in NCAA Division II, would appear in the other semifinal against Northeast Philadelphia's Holy Family University. The conference's "final four" games would be played at Caldwell (N.J.) University.

In Chestnut Hill's quarterfinal last week, the Griffins received 13 points apiece from two freshmen, CACC Rookie of the Year Bridie McCann, and Caraline Herb.

Each of them netted a three-pointer during the first quarter, but the dominant player in the period was Dominican sophomore Cayla Howard, a big guard who could score inside and out. She would score a dozen of her game-high 19 points during the first frame, staking the Chargers to a 16-11 lead.

CHC got back within one point in the first minute of the second round when juniors Emily Sekerak and McCann each made a pair of free throws. Edwards deposited two three-pointers for Chestnut Hill, and there were single treys by sophomore Sara Tamoun and senior Lindsey Lane. Lane's bucket, launched from the right wing, brought the Griffins even with the Chargers, 27-27, with four minutes left in the half.

After that, Dominican senior center Chidinma Ndukauba bagged two short jumpers to send the visitors into halftime with a 31-27 advantage.

Both teams struggled to score in the third quarter, producing a total of just 16 points between them. When the action paused for a media time-out in the middle of the period, Dominican led, 36-30. The Chargers' Howard was fouled when the contest resumed, and her two free throws gave Dominican an eight-point lead.

Later, CHC's Carter would hit a lay-up in transition for the last points of the quarter, but the Griffins still trailed by six points, 40-34. Carter also scored the first points of the fourth round on another drive, but three minutes in, Chestnut Hill still lagged by half-a-dozen points, now 44-38.

A crucial 8-0 run by the Griffins began with a three-pointer that McCann fired from five feet outside the arc on the right side. After scoring an early "three", the freshman sent up some off-target shots in the middle of the game, but now she was getting her stroke back. Next came a baseline drive by Tamoun, then a "three" by Carter from the keytop nudged the Griffins ahead, 46-44, with five minutes remaining.

A lone free throw by Howard broke the Dominican drought, but then CHC had Carter score with sort of a driving hook shot, and a trey by McCann had the hosts up by six, 51-45. Dominican now called a time-out with 4:11 remaining in the game.

Chestnut Hill would not score again. Dominican's Ndukauba put in a lay-up, and with 51 seconds to go Alexis Saurez made two free throws that set the final score at 51-49.

Following a time-out, the Griffins were able to take some time off the clock before putting up a three-point attempt. The shot didn't go down, but McCann grabbed the rebound and two Chargers trapped her along the right baseline. CHC was able to call a time-out, then play picked up again with 21 seconds on the game clock and 18 on the shot clock.

The Chargers only had fouled once in the quarter, so time ran off as they tried to get that total up to five and put the Griffins on the line. Dominican missed its last shot (a "three"), Tamoun grabbed the rebound and was fouled with one-and-a-half seconds left. CHC inbounded the ball twice after that, getting it to sophomore Avery White both times before the buzzer.