NEWPORT NEWS, Va. - 14-points and 12-rebounds from forward, Cara Joyner, helped the Southern Virginia University women's basketball team to a 65-58 win over rivals the Apprentice Shipbuilders. Joyner's double-double as only the sixth of the season for the Knights, and is the first time that a player other than Nicole Tolman has recorded the feet. Tolman was not far off from her sixth of the season as she pulled down 9-rebounds, and put in 9-points to help the cause.
Apprentice was looking to avenge a loss to the Knights earlier in the season, and jumped to a quick lead in the first half. Joyner tied up the game, and helped the Knights in the early moments of the game stay with the Builders. Mina Romito, who was the game's leading scorer, with 21-points, helped give the visitors a 5-point lead, and Jenna Aldridge extended the lead by six, after a fast break three-pointer in the first half.
The hosts whittled the lead down to two before SVU went on a 9-0 run, capped off by Romito's score in the paint. SVU had its largest lead of the game at 23-12, but any thoughts of the hosts rolling over for an easy win were quickly erased, as Apprentice 11-point run which culminated with a tie game at 26-26 with two minutes left in the half.
SVU regained a small lead heading in to the half, as Joyner hit a two-point shot with 11-seconds on the clock. The Knights started the second half with an eye on closing out the game, and rushed to a 10-point lead at 40-30, after a Jasmin Johnson bucket pushed the visitors to a lead that would last until the dying moments of the game. Apprentice would regroup and make a charge at the lead.
With 3:11 left on the clock, Apprentice grabbed the lead for the first time since the beginning of the game. Against Trinity earlier in the week, the Knights almost squandered a win, and it looked like they would actually watch the win go to the hosts before Romito established order for the Knight, and gave them a lead that they would not give up for the remainder of the game.
Tolman and Romito iced the game from the free throw line, as the hosts tried desperately to get back. The Knights had used a strong shooting afternoon, as they hit on almost 41% of their shots in staying unbeaten against USCAA foes. The visitors hit on 72% of their free-throws, while seeing the hosts lose the game from the line connecting on only 9-of-26 shooting from the line. SVU won the battle in the paint, as the team pulled down two more rebounds than Apprentice's 44. SVU also made the Builders pay, as they forced 24 Apprentice turnovers.
SVU now moves to 9-12, and is primed for a run to the USCAA National Tournament. The Knights will stay o the road looking for another win, as they travel Feb. 8 to take on NCAA D.III foe Hollins. Tip off for the game is set for 7:00 pm.