UNIONTOW, PA - The #2 Central Maine Community College Mustangs won their second National Championship over the last three years by defeating #1 Villa Maria College, 85-78 on Wednesday afternoon in the Main Arena at Penn State Fayette.
CMCC jumped on the Vikings early, leading 35-16 after the first quarter. All-Tournament team members Kristen Huntress and Brooke Reynolds led the first-quarter assault, scoring nine points each with Reynolds tacking on four rebounds and three assists. She would add six more points in the second quarter to help the Mustangs take a 48-29 lead into halftime.
Villa Maria would watch their deficit balloon to 63-39 with 2:54 remaining in the third quarter before coming to life. The Vikings showed their chops as the top seed in the field by going on a 17-0 run, spearheaded by a suffocating defense that forced eight turnovers. Nina Cray paced the comeback with 10 points in the third quarter.
The teams traded baskets during the early part of the fourth quarter, before Villa Maria eventually cut the deficit to five with under a minute remaining. After a timeout, Alex Bessey, who scored 12 points in the fourth quarter, hit a three-pointer that put the game away for the Mustangs. A pair of three-pointers from USCAA Women’s Division II Basketball Player of the Year Shaquana Owens with under 30 seconds left to play continued to make the game interesting until the final whistle but proved too little too late.
CMCC had five different players in double digits scoring; Reynolds (17), Huntress (17), Jordyn Reynolds (14), Bessey (12), and Natalie Thurber (10). Brooke and Jordyn Reynolds recorded double-doubles with 14 and 11 rebounds respectively. Villa Maria was led by Cray and Owens with 20 points each. Cray also added 10 rebounds.
For the Vikings, the loss caps a 25-win season – the most successful in program history. The win for the Mustangs completes a remarkable three-year stretch that has seen the program secure two National Championships and a runner-up finish.
Women’s Division II Tournament MVP
Brooke Reynolds, Central Maine Community College
Women’s Division II All-Tournament Team
Ineesha Hankerson, Johnson & Wales-Charlotte
Jah’Nel Oliver, Penn State Lehigh Valley
Kristen Huntress, Central Maine Community College
Nina Cray, Villa Maria College
Shaquana Owens, Villa Maria College