Written by Sean Dahlin
BUENA VISTA, Va.—Behind a season-high 19 points and nine rebounds from senior Amaris Newkirk (Folsom, N.M.), the Southern Virginia University women's basketball team won its home opener on Tuesday night 52-49 against USCAA-rival the Apprentice School.
"We always know going into it, that a game against Apprentice is going to be difficult," said fourteen-year Head Coach Michael Harmon. "It was an exciting finish and I'm proud of my team for working together and earning the win."
The victory over the Shipbuilders gave Harmon his 388th career win as head coach at Southern Virginia—he has now registered 183 wins in women's basketball and 205 wins in women's volleyball—making him the all-time winningest coach in Southern Virginia history.
In a first half that saw five lead changes, the Knights fell behind 23-21 at the break after losing a three-point lead as Apprentice went on a 5-0 run in the remaining 18 seconds.
Following intermission, both teams battled back and forth until a jumper from Newkirk sparked a 6-0 Southern Virginia run capped by a layup from junior guard Ann Kuroki (Hershey, Neb.)—who recorded eight points, eight boards and a game-high four assists—to give the Knights their largest lead of the night (43-37).
Apprentice cut the Southern Virginia lead to 50-49 by a three-pointer from Shanae Hilliard before senior forward Abigail Logan (Buena Vista, Va.) hit a pair of free throws to give her 10 points in the game on route to a victory for the Knights.
Freshman center Crystal Cleveland (Delran, N.J.) earned her fourth double-double of the season, bringing down a game-high 16 rebounds and scoring 13 points respectively.
Danita Walker was the Shipbuilders' top scorer recording a double-double of her own with 15 points and 11 boards.
Southern Virginia held a 50-40 advantage in total rebounds and won the shooting battle, hitting 34.8-percent of its shots compared to Apprentice's 26.5-percent from the field.
Prior to tip-off, Harmon and former Knight Liz Lindsey-Weber (1998-2002) were honored with the Southern Virginia University Pioneer Award in front of a ruckus Knight Arena home crowd.
Women's basketball will return to action on Saturday, Jan. 11, as it faces Barber-Scotia College in the Knights' second straight home contest.