Written by Chris Pendleton
BRISTOL, Va.—The Southern Virginia University women's basketball team opened its season Wednesday night with a 90-83 victory at NAIA Virginia Intermont College.
Virginia Intermont (3-1) had opened its 2011-12 season with three consecutive wins coming into Wednesday's matchup with Southern Virginia (1-0) and jumped out to an early lead over the Knights.
Trailing by ten (13-23) with 10:13 left in the opening half, Southern Virginia outscored Virginia Intermont 32-19 over the next ten minutes and entered the break with a three-point lead over the Cobras.
The game remained close, with the Knights trailing the Cobras for most of the second half until a clutch three-pointer from junior guard Mina Romito gave Southern Virginia an 80-78 lead with 3:32 remaining in the game.
Romito's three-pointer ignited a 13-5 Southern Virginia run over the final three minutes of play as the Knights knocked off the undefeated Cobras for their first victory of the season.
Romito, who led Southern Virginia last season in scoring with 13.1 points per game, hit 5-of-9 from behind the arc and finished with a team-high 19 points in the victory.
Kuroki, a junior college transfer from Hershey, Nebraska who helped lead North Platte Community College to the National Junior College Athletic Association championships last season, scored 17 points in her Southern Virginia debut while dishing out a game-high eight assists and grabbing five steals.
Fellow transfer Newkirk, who played last season at Eastern Arizona College, came off the bench to add 15 points hitting on 6-of-7 shots from two-point range and pulling down five boards.
Winters, a true freshman point guard from St. John, Washington, hit 4-of-9 from long range in her college debut and finished with 14 points.
Nicole Baker, Southern Virginia's second leading scoring (12.1 ppg) and leading rebounder (8.4 rpg) last season, finished with a team-high six rebounds to go along with her eight points.
Wednesday's victory was a large turnaround from a year ago when the Knights traveled to Bristol, Va. on Nov. 10, 2010 and fell to the Cobras 55-73. Mike Harmon, who is entering his 13th season as the head women's basketball coach at Southern Virginia University, is looking to push the tempo this season and was pleased with his team's performance in its season opener.
"Even though we are still learning and coming to terms with our new style of play, I am very pleased with the acceptance that the team has shown in adopting our new style," said Harmon following Wednesday's victory. "That was a great win over a very talented Virginia Intermont team and we are looking forward to the rest of the season with great anticipation."
Southern Virginia scored more points (90) in last night's win than any time last season.
Women's basketball has one day to recover before traveling to NCAA Division I Costal Carolina University on Friday, Nov. 11.