Written by Sean Dahlin
UNIONTOWN, Pa.—Thanks to a game-winning layup from junior guard Ann Kuroki (Hershey, Neb.) with 52 seconds remaining, the Southern Virginia University women's basketball team ended the season on Thursday with a 46-44 victory over Robert Morris University-Springfield.
"What an exciting way to finish the year winning a close, hard-fought game down the wire," said fourteen-year Head Coach Michael Harmon. "I'm proud to have been a part of this team that had a good year fighting against all odds."
After freshman center Crystal Cleveland (Delran, N.J.) made a layup with 3:31 left in regulation to even the game at 44 apiece, both teams remained scoreless for nearly two minutes before the layup by Kuroki—who added nine points along with a pair of dimes and steals—gave Southern Virginia (15-9) the two-point win over Robert Morris-Springfield (14-10) in Uniontown, Pa.
Senior forward Amaris Newkirk (Folsom, N.M.) led the Knights down the stretch scoring seven of her game-high 17 points and grabbing a career-high 21 boards in a monster game, including her three-pointer at the 7:58 mark of the second half to put Southern Virginia within two (40-38) before Cleveland knotted the score at 40-40 one minute later.
The Knights and Eagles fought in a close, defensive struggle throughout the second stanza as there were four ties and three lead changes while both squads shot 9-for-39 and 6-for-31 from the field respectively in the final 20 minutes of action.
In the first half, neither team had a lead of more than five points as Southern Virginia and Robert Morris-Springfield went into the locker rooms at intermission tied 27-27 and both teams registering a 35.5-percent field goal percentage.
Senior forward Abigail Logan (Buena Vista, Va.) finished her career as a Knight with a double-double of her own scoring 10 points and coming down with 12 rebounds. Cleveland added eight points and 14 boards in the win.
The Eagles were led by Cassandra Baker, who scored a team-high 11 points on 5-of-15 from the field.
Southern Virginia held a slim 52-50 margin over Robert Morris-Springfield in the battle on the glass.
"Our scholar-athletes continued to work hard and came together as a team in making this a successfully competitive and enjoyable season," said Harmon who earned his 399th career win at Southern Virginia (194 basketball, 205 volleyball).
With Thursday's win, women's basketball closes out the year at 15-9, including its third straight trip to the USCAA National Tournament and an undefeated 7-0 record at home for the first time since the 2000-01 season.