Jan. 2, 2014
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Audrey Bauer (Sr., Lake Zurich, Ill.) accounted for 11 points in a 16-0 game-opening run by the Navy women's basketball team that propelled the Mids to a 67-44 win over Loyola Thursday night at Alumni Hall in Annapolis. The game served as the Patriot League opener for both teams.
The win improves Navy's overall record to 9-3 this season while the loss dropped Loyola's record to 3-9.
Bauer opened the scoring in the game by drilling a three-point field goal a little more than two minutes into the contest. Chloe Stapleton (Jr., Cary, N.C.), who made eight triples in Navy's win at Marshall Sunday, connected on another trey on Navy's next possession. Neither team would score over the next 100 seconds of play before Bauer connected on a jumper, a three-point attempt and another jumper on successive trips down the floor to give the Mids a 13-0 advantage with 14:26 left on the clock. Kara Pollinger (Sr., Fort Gay, W.Va.) followed with a triple of her own on Navy's next possession to make the score 16-0 in favor of the Mids less than seven minutes into the game.
"I thought our focus was really good," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper, who has now guided Navy to wins in its first league game in each of the last five years. "Our starting five came out of the gate really sharp."
Bauer continued her torrid pace by accounting for the ensuing five points tallied by Navy, which gave the Mids a 21-6 lead. She soon would hit another triple followed by a jumper on consecutive possessions that were part of a 14-0 Navy run to boost the Mids out to a 37-10 cushion with 3:33 remaining in the first half.
Navy would lead by as many as 30 points at 45-15 before going into halftime with a 45-17 advantage.
Bauer entered the game with a season and career high of 18 points, but she would score 20 points in just 15 minutes of playing time in the first half. She connected on 8 of 10 field goal attempts in the first half, including 4 of 5 from three-point range.
"The whole team was excited about our first Patriot League game," said Bauer. "Conference games mean a lot more, and we definitely recognize that.
"I think we were just taking what the defense gave us. Loyola was in zone a lot in the first half, so we passed the ball well and found the open shooter."
Navy as a team shot 70.8 percent from the floor and made 9 of its 13 (69.2%) three-point attempts in the first half. On the other end of the floor, the Mids held Loyola to a 1 of 5 (20%) effort from three-point range as part of a first half that saw the Greyhounds connect on just 36.4 percent of their field goal attempts.
"Loyola was in zone early on," said Pemper, "and shots fell. We were unselfish and moved the ball. We had a lot of assists (15 on 17 field goals made). They (Loyola) were missing their second leading scorer and starting point guard tonight, so we thought they were going to zone us."
Bauer would connect on her final points of the night early in the second half when she capped a 7-0 Navy run with another triple that boosted the advantage for the Mids out to 52-22 with 17:08 left in the game. She would exit the game for good at that point having accounted for 23 points on 5 of 6 shooting from three-point range and a 9 of 11 performance in all from the field in 18 just minutes of playing time.
"She (Audrey) was tremendous," said Pemper. "She missed practice Wednesday and has been sick. I'm so happy for her. To come back, have one practice, miss a practice and then play like this ... it's great mental toughness."
With multiple Navy starters on the bench for the entire second half -- including five reserves on the floor for the final 7:25 of the game -- the Mids led by at least 23 points and by as many as 33 points. Navy's starting lineup totaled just 98 minutes of playing time in the game, including just 25 of a possible 100 minutes in the second half.
Pollinger would match Bauer's three-point shooting in the game as she too was 5 of 6 from outside of the arc on her way to scoring 15 points. Just missing reaching double figures in points were Alix Membreno (Sr., Loxahatchee, Fla.) and Sarita Condie (Fr., Loveland, Nev.), with each scoring eight points. Membreno would also add a career-high tying eight assists along with five rebounds in the game.
Navy as a team tallied assists on 21 of its 24 made field goals. That effective ball movement helped the Mids shoot 52.2 percent from the field overall, as well as 63.6 percent -- 14 of 22 -- from three-point range. Defensively, Navy held the Greyhounds to 35.4-percent shooting for the game and just a 2 of 7 (28.6%) night from three-point land. The Mids also held a 36-23 advantage on the glass.
"Our defense was pretty good," said Pemper. "Nai Brown has been their leading scorer (14.6 ppg) and we held her a little under her average (12 points). She is a really good player. Alix did a nice job on her."
Navy will take to the road for its next league game, a Sunday afternoon (2 p.m.) contest at Lafayette.