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Women's Basketball Tops CNU, 65-48 in Friday Night Exhibition

Keith Lucas/Sideline Media Productions

NORFOLK, Va. – Old Dominion women's basketball was back on its home court Friday evening as the Monarchs defeated Christopher Newport University 65-48 in an exhibition game at Chartway Arena.

"Tonight was a great opportunity for us to truly evaluate where we are as a team," said head coach DeLisha Milton-Jones. "Christopher Newport is a feisty team that makes you play a faster tempo than you'd like and this caused us to have more turnovers than we expected to have. With 10 new faces added to our roster, we are fighting daily for cohesiveness and familiarity in our play."

The Monarchs opened the scoring Kaye Clark found Simone Cunningham on a fast break. After the Captains pulled ahead 7-4 on a Hannah Kaloi three-pointer, Cunningham earned a trip to the line and made both of her freebies. Just over a minute later, Brenda Fontana drew contact on a made basket and made good on her free throw to knot the score at 9-9. CNU pulled ahead 15-12, but En'Dya Buford found Jordan McLaughlin on the left side and the senior from Charlotte, North Carolina knocked down a deep ball for another tie. That opened up a 13-0 run that put ODU in front, 25-15. Gabbi San Diego ended CNU's drought with a 1-for-2 effort at the line, and Lanetta Williams scored a layup in the paint as the Monarchs led 27-16 at the end of the first.

CNU trimmed ODU's lead to five at 27-22 with an Alexia Lindsey basket at the 7:07 mark in the second quarter. However, the visitors again went cold as the Monarchs put together a 10-0 run, highlighted by a long ball from Buford. Clark rounded out the first-half scoring with a pair of free throws and ODU took a 39-27 lead into the locker room.

The Monarchs continued to pull away in the third. A Clark three-pointer with 7:23 to go made it 44-29. ODU then went up by 21 at 55-34 as Cunningham scored a layup, Mimi McCollister followed with a three and Cunningham added another layup. A Mikayla Brown got her jumper to fall as the Monarchs went into the final quarter leading 57-40.

Both teams held each other to single digits in the final stanza. La'Dajah Huguley got into the scorer's column with a jumper at the 9:44 mark. After Nnenna Orji went 1-for-2 at the line for a 60-42 lead, a McLaughlin basket and a Buford three-pointer made it a 20-point lead at 65-45 with 5:32 remaining. The Captains then capped off the scoring with three more free throws the rest of the way.

Cunningham turned in a 12-point, 17-rebound double-double and Buford scored 14 points to lead ODU in the win. Orji followed with seven points and three boards and McLaughlin also netted seven points with four assists and four steals.

As a team, the Monarchs combined to shoot 23-for-65 (.354) from the field, 5-for-25 (.200) from beyond the arc, and 14-for-18 (.778) at the charity stripe. ODU scored 25 points off turnovers and edged the Captains in points in the paint (32-22), second-chance points (20-5), fast-break points (13-6) and bench production (23-9).

"I'm looking forward to seeing our growth as the season progresses," continued Milton-Jones. "I want to thank our faithful fans for coming and supporting us tonight."

ODU has a five-game homestand to start the season, beginning with a 4 p.m. meeting with Lincoln (Pa.) for the team's season-opener on Nov. 6.