Tournament officials for the men’s and women’s Cancun Challenge are about to kick off this year’s edition of the event, but first comes an announcement of four men’s team making the trip in 2019, along with nine women’s teams who will be suiting up.
The Riviera Division of the 2019 men’s Cancun Challenge will feature Northern Iowa, South Carolina, West Virginia and Wichita State. They will each host two games against Mayan Division teams (Boston University, Gardner-Webb, Northern Colorado and UT Martin) in the U.S., then play twice in bracket play Nov. 26-27 at the event. All matchups and game details will be announced in 2019.
The nine women’s teams invited to compete at the 2019 Cancun Challenge are: Creighton, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Notre Dame, South Dakota State, South Florida, Temple and West Virginia. Games will be played Nov. 28-30, with matchups and game details to be announced in 2019.
The Cancun Challenge is one of the premier basketball events held each year and has been rated as a top-five preseason tournament by Sports Illustrated. Teams stay and play at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya. The resort’s convention center ballroom is converted into an arena, which provides fans a special close-up view of the games. Once arriving to the hotel, teams and fans are treated to a spectacular all-inclusive rock star vacation with games, practices, unlimited dining and drinks, world-class entertainment and fun all in one location.
Located just off the azure waters of the Caribbean Sea, Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya offers the ultimate vacation for guests of all ages with both the adults-only and family friendly resort experiences. With a combined 1,264 ultra-posh and lavishly appointed guestrooms boasting balcony, terrace views or new, expansive sky terrace options with picturesque views, hydro tubs in each room, world-class shopping and endless style, Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya is nothing short of the ultimate crowd-pleaser. Complete with expansive outdoor pools and private beach, this all-inclusive escape offers nine world-class restaurants, eight bars and lounges, in addition to 88,915 square feet of state-of-the-art meeting and event space ideal for elegant banquets, themed parties, weddings, concerts, and more.
Seating is limited for this exclusive event, and all fans should book land travel packages through Triple Crown Sports for admission into games in Mexico. Travel packages are the only way to guarantee admission to games at this time. For travel package information, contact Sarah Sullivan at 970-672-0533 (email to firstname.lastname@example.org) or visit the website at www.cancunchallenge.net.
Saturday afternoon’s top-25 matchup to finish the Cancun Challenge did not disappoint those who made the trip down to the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya. Four quarters could not separate No. 16 DePaul (3-2) and No. 14 Syracuse (6-1). With the game tied at 81, the Orange’s Tiana Mangakahia beat the buzzer with a reverse layup to seal the overtime win, 83-81.
DePaul started the game 0-15 from three-point distance, falling behind 18-6 after the first quarter of play. Doug Bruno’s squad remained determined to make a run, and Chante Stonewall led the charge. Stonewall, who finished with a game-high 25 points, led the Blue Demons on a 21-0 run midway through the third quarter.
As the game’s final moments came to a close, Tiana Mangakahia took control. The junior guard out of Australia scored the final 11 points for Syracuse, including both the layup to send the game to overtime and the game winner.
Ashton Millender (11 points) and Kelly Campbell (14 points) also finished in double figures for DePaul along with Stonewall. The Blue Demons shot 11-47 (23%) from deep and turned 18 Syracuse turnovers into 19 points.
Miranda Drummond was on fire for the Orange. The senior knocked down five three’s and poured in 21 points. Gabrielle Cooper recorded yet another double for Syracuse, finishing with 10 points and pulling down 12 rebounds. Mangakahia dialed up a team-high 22.
Carlie Littlefield – Princeton
Peyton Williams – Kansas State
Kelly Campbell – DePaul
Chante Stonewall – DePaul
Gabrielle Cooper – Syracuse
Tiana Mangakahia – Syracuse (MVP)
The Kansas State Wildcats take down the Princeton Tigers 80-61 in the final day of the 2018 women’s Cancun Challenge played at the all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya.
Peyton Williams scored 23 points and pulled down 7 rebounds for the Wildcats. Williams hit 8 of our last 9 shots in the ballgame. Christianna Carr finished with 22, Rachel Ranke with 15 and Kayla Goth added 9 with a game-high 8 assists.
Carlie Littlefield paced Princeton with 22 points, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. Gabrielle Rush finished with a double-double scoring 16 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.
Princeton led at halftime 42-34 and by as many as 9 points in the second quarter, but struggled in the second half going 5 of 29 from the field. The Wildcats scored 26 points in the third quarter while holding the Tigers to 8.
The Wildcats improve to 4-2 on the season and will next face Vanderbilt at home on Dec. 2 in the SEC/Big 12 Challenge. Princeton falls to 1-6 and will take on Villanova on Nov. 28 in Philadelphia.
The Michigan State Spartans cruise to a 75-51 victory over Kennesaw State in what is the final game for both teams at the 2018 women’s Cancun Challenge.
Michigan State’s Nia Clouden had a team-high 18 points and dished out 6 assists. Tory Ozment finished with 15 points and Victoria Gaines had 10 points.
Kennesaw State’s Alexis Poole led all scorers with 21 points and was named to the All-Tournament Team for the Owls.
The Spartans never trailed in the game with their largest lead of 35 points (64-29) coming in the foruth quarter.
Mei-Lyn Bautista – George Washington
Francesca Pan – Georgia Tech
Grace Kenyon – Idaho State
Alexis Poole – Kennesaw State
Taryn McCutcheon – Michigan State
Grace Hunter – NC State (MVP)
From start to finish, Georgia Tech imposed its strength and size on Idaho State, quickly running out to a double-digit lead. Outscoring the Bengals 30-18 in the paint, the Yellow Jackets ended its Cancun Challenge campaign with a victory, 74-51.
Idaho State (2-4) tried desperately to match the physicality of Georgia Tech (5-1), but 18 turnovers were just too much to overcome. Sai Tapasa paced the Bengals with 12 points and pulled down a team-high eight rebounds. Madison Hinrichs also finished in double figures, totaling 11 points on 5-13 shooting.
Deploying a full-court press in the first half, Georgia Tech converted ISU’s turnovers into 23 points. When the game settled into the half court, the Yellow Jacket’s aggressiveness led them to 29 trips to the free line where they would hit 24 of them.
Junior forward Francesca Pan and Elizabeth Dixon each ended with 18 points. Pans late fourth quarter basket also vaulted her into the 1,000-point club. Twelve points from Chanin Scott made here the third player in double figures for head coach Machelle Joseph.
The No. 15-ranked NC State Wolfpack hold off George Washington 69-61 and improve to 6-0 on the season in what was their final game of the 2018 Cancun Challenge.
Wolfpack guard Grace Hunter finished with a game-high 21 points and pulled down 11 rebounds. Elissa Cunane added 18 coming off the bench and Erika Cassell finished with 12.
Mei-Lyn Bautista scored 19 points to lead GWU. She hit 5 three-pointers in the contest and dished out 3 assists. Kelsi Mahoney finished with 16 points and Neila Luma added 14.
The Wolfpack controlled the boards outrebounding GWU 48-22 and finished with 32 points in the paint compared to 14 by the Colonials.
GWU falls to 1-5 on the season and will be back in action at home on Nov. 27 against Towson. The Wolfpack will face Michigan at home in the ACC/B1G Challenge on Nov. 29.
Princeton sprinted out of the starting gate against Syracuse Friday afternoon, trailing by just one at the first media break, 18-17. The Orange’s presence in the paint was too much to handle over time as they crept out to a double-digit lead after a 12-0 run to end the first frame, eventually gliding to victory, 92-61.
Syracuse (5-1) outrebounded Princeton (1-5) 45-23 on the afternoon and dialed up 36 points in the paint compared to the Tigers’ 22.
Gabrielle Cooper paced the Orange with a game-high 20 points. The junior also pulled down four rebounds. Tiana Mangakahia (14 points), Amaya Finklea-Guity (12 points) and Kiara Lewis (10 points) also finished in double figures for Syracuse.
Gabrielle Rush led Princeton’s effort with 15 points, shooting 5-10 from three-point distance. Carlie Littlefield and Neenah Young gathered in 11 and 10 points, respectively for Courtney Banghart’s squad.
Both the Orange and the Tigers have one game left at the Cancun Challenge. Princeton faces Kansas State on Saturday at 11 a.m. ET, and Syracuse takes on No. 16 DePaul at 1:30 p.m. ET.
The No. 16/16 DePaul Blue Demons use solid defensive effort and timely three-point shooting in win over Kansas State, 79-59.
Mart'e Grays and Dee Bekelja both paced the Blue Demons with 12 points. Grays also finished with a team-high six rebounds.
Kansas State’s Jasauen Beard finished with a game-high 17 points and Peyton Williams added 10.
The Wildcats struggled shooting from the three-point line all game only hitting 2 shots, while DePaul finished with 12 makes on 40 attempts.
DePaul led for the majority of the game with their largest lead coming in the 3rd quarter when they went up by 29 points (54-25). The Blue Demons held the Wildcats to just 8 points in the 2nd quarter, while scoring 24.
K-State outscored DePaul in the second half, but turnovers killed any momentum the Wildcats were trying to gain. They gave up the ball 25 times in the game which led to 31 Blue Demon points.
Both teams have one game remaining in the Cancun Challenge; Kansas State faces Princeton on Saturday at 11 a.m. ET and DePaul takes on No. 14 Syracuse at 1:30 p.m. ET.
Idaho State’s starters played like stars on Thursday evening in Cancun. Grace Kenyon, Saylair Grandon and Sai Tapasa all scored in double figures as the Bengals (2-3) took care of Kennesaw State (2-4), 60-49.
The Owls forced 16 turnovers and dominated the paint, 24-18. An early 16-13 advantage after the first quarter had all the momentum in Kennesaw State’s favor but Grace Kenyon answered the call for Idaho State, doing a little bit of everything in the first half. The red-shirt senior led the team with 12 rebounds and dished out four assists, all while scoring 15 points.
Kamiyah Street played all 40 minutes for the Owls, recording a team-high 12 points. Kennesaw State also got a strong effort from Carlotta Gianolla who poured in 10 points and tallied three rebounds.
Both teams will be back in action Friday evening. Idaho State takes on Georgia Tech at 6:30 p.m. ET and Kennesaw State faces Michigan State at 9 p.m
Balanced scoring has been the name of the game for the No. 15 NC State Wolfpack this season and Thursday night’s 78-74 victory over Michigan State at the Cancun Challenge was no exception.
Four players scored in double figures for NC Staate with Kiara Leslie finishing with a team-high 17 points. Aislinn Konig and Grace Hunter each added 16 and teammate Erika Cassell chipped in 12.
Michigan State’s Shay Colley led all scorers with 20 points and seven rebounds. Taryn McCutcheon finished with 16 and Victoria Gaines had 15.
It was a game of multiple runs with the Wolfpack jumping to a 10 point or more lead multiple times, but the Spartans always found away to fight back. MSU cut the lead to just two points (74-72) with 15 seconds left in the game on a Gaines layup. However, NC State hit 4 of 4 free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.
The was the first time the Wolfpack had defeated the Spartans with the all-time series record now at 2-1 in favor of Michigan State.
NC State will face George Washington on Friday at 4 p.m. ET, while Michigan State takes on Kennesaw State in the 9 p.m. ET slot.