The #23 Chargers took control of the game early jumping out to a 8-2 lead six and a half minutes into the game but the #17 Golden Eagles settled in and tied the game at 13-13 at the 9:16 mark. Junior Ashley Moon hit a 3-pointer to take a 16-13 lead. Despite 18 turnovers in the first half, Kayleigh Hammond scored on a layup with 2 seconds left to give CU a five point lead 37-32 at the half. Melissa Veltkamp had 10 points, Brooke Carter had 9 and Ellisha Crosby added 7 in the first half. There were also 7 ties in the first half. CU was 3-6 from the 3-point line and 8-12 from the free-throw line.
Cornerstone built the lead to 11 on a jumper by Robyn Veltkamp 45-34 with 15:34 remaining. Briar Cliff would keep up the aggressive half-court pressure and capitalized on 3 consecutive CU turnovers to cut the lead to 52-51 with 7 minutes remaining. Ellisha Crosby hit 4 straight free-throws to keep the Chargers at bay and Melissa Veltkamp hit a huge 3 pointer with 3:43 on the clock to push the lead to 6 (59-53). CU clamped down on defense and held the Chargers without a field goal in the final 3 minutes. Alexa Hensler hit a 12 foot jump shot with 19 seconds remaining to secure the 63-57 win.
Four players scored in double figures led by Melissa Veltkamp and Ellisha Crosby's 15 points. Brooke Carter had a double double 11 points and 10 rebounds despite suffering through early foul trouble. Robyn Veltkamp finished with 11 points and 8 assists. The Golden Eagles improve to 5-0 on the season and Briar Cliff falls to 0-2. CU will play Viterbo a 68-40 winner over Judson for the championship of the Viterbo NAIA Showcase. That game will tip off at 4:00 p.m. EST.
Notables: This was the 3rd meeting between CU and Briar Cliff. The two previous times were at the NAIA National Tournament. Briar Cliff defeated CU in the Sweet 16 in 2001 (66-55) and CU defeated the Chargers in the final four in 2002 (56-46) and CU finished as runner-up national champions.