CONCORD -- The new Open Division didn't mean a postseason girls basketball rivalry had to die.
Carondelet and Archbishop Mitty squared off in the playoffs for the fourth time in the last five years, but what transpired in Saturday's first round at De La Salle wasn't the typical thriller between the two former Division II powers.
Mitty trailed by just six just after halftime, but in the span of only a few minutes found themselves in an insurmountable 23-point hole in what ended up an 89-69 loss for the defending Division II state champions.
"(Carondelet) just did a really good job of pushing the ball in transition and knocking down a lot of threes," said Mitty coach Sue Phillips. "We didn't have an answer defensively. Credit Carondelet for their efficiency on the offensive side of the ball."
Carondelet controlled the tempo and got a career-high 34 points from junior Natalie Romeo.
The Cougars will face St. Mary's-Stockton in the semifinals on Tuesday.
Mitty (24-7) ended Carondelet's season a year ago in the Division II semifinals, and the Cougars didn't forget it.
"Those kind of losses motivate you for the whole year," Carondelet coach Margaret Gartner said of last year's 54-51 heartbreaker. "I'm just happy for the girls that played on the team last year to be able to beat Mitty."
Carondelet (27-3) broke the game open in the third quarter with a 21-4 run. The Cougars were strong on the boards and their defensive pressure wreaked havoc on Mitty during the stretch. Vanessa Garner tried to rally the Monarchs back as they closed the third quarter on a 8-0 run, but 69-55 was as close as they'd get.
"We know their strength is slowing it down and running their offense and we can't really guard that inside," Gartner said. "We wanted to get up and down the court and I think we tired them out."
Romeo finished with four of Carondelet's 10 3-pointers on the night and senior Lauren Nicolosi battled inside for 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Kelli Hayes led Mitty with 17 points while Garner tallied 15.