By Laura Tome
The Southern Virginia University women's basketball team ended its inaugural year as a member of the NCAA DIII Capital Athletic Conference with a 3-22 overall record and its first ever conference win.
The young squad lacked collegiate experience and had two nine-game losing streaks after battling in a new league that included two nationally ranked programs.
The Knights earned their first two victories over Chatham College and Bennett College at the Great Ships Classic in November. Their third victory of the season was over CAC foe Wesley College, 54-51, on January 25, their first ever Capital Athletic Conference win. The Knights had close losses to two other CAC competitors in Penn St.-Harrisburg, 62-60, and Frostburg State, 75-71.
Sophomores Shannon Romito and Crystal Cleveland proved to be key players for the Knights throughout the season. Romito earned a season high of 19 points and 11 rebounds in the victory over Chatham College to earn her first of three double-doubles this season. Romito earned a double-double against Penn St.-Fayette with 14 points and 12 rebounds and against Frostburg State with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Romito earned an average of 6.7 rebounds per game, tying her season record of 12 rebounds four times throughout the season.
Cleveland followed Romito's lead with a season high of 18 points and 18 rebounds in the initial victory over Chatham. Cleveland finished the season with two additional double-doubles against Penn St-Harrisburg with 12 points and 12 rebounds and against Frostburg State with 15 points and 11 rebounds. Cleveland finished the season strong as she recorded 14 rebounds in the final game of the season, a team high of 28 blocks and 215 total rebounds during the 2013-14 campaign.
Freshman Tatiana Monsen led the Knights in points per game and finished the season with a 9.6 ppg average. Monsen recorded a season-best 26 points in her second collegiate basketball contest. She was consistent for the Knights as she scored double digits in over half of the Knights' contests, led the team in steals with 52 and in converted free throws with 79.
Fellow freshman Morgan Hartvigsen led the Knights with a 30.9 percent three-point average from her team high of 29 three-pointers during the year. Hartvigsen had a season high of 16 points and personal-best four treys in the 84-70 loss to Marymount University.
Rexburg, Idaho native Paige Crittendon had the second-most steals, assists and made free throws with 25, 45 and 51, respectively. Crittendon had a career high of 13 points in the first game of the season and a career high of seven made free throws in the 88-41 loss to Mary Washington.
Having no seniors on this year's team, the young Knight squad will learn from this season and return ready to compete at a higher level in 2014-15 and make an effort to qualify for the CAC postseason tournament.