Jan. 4, 2013
RICHMOND, Va. - Richmond tallied the final five points of the game to allow the Spiders to hang on for a 65-59 victory over the Navy women's basketball team Friday night at the Robins Center in Richmond, Va.
"We have to find another level of toughness," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper. "We have to understand the significance of possessions when you are on the road against a good team."
Navy (7-7) took a 34-28 lead over Richmond (9-6) at halftime, thanks in no small part to the Mids jumping out to a 20-2 advantage at the very beginning of the game. Navy still held a 34-23 lead late in the half before Richmond closed the frame on a 5-0 run. The Spiders promptly scored the opening 12 points of the second half to quickly take a 40-34 lead on the Mids.
The Mids whittled the margin down to one point at 48-47 midway through the second half and had a pair of field goal attempts on their next possession that would have given them the lead. A pair of Richmond free throws ensued, but a Jade Geif (Jr., Lakeville, Minn.) bucket trimmed the Navy deficit back down to one point. Back-to-back Richmond three-point field goals would give the Spiders their second seven-point lead of the half.
Richmond would again hold a seven-point lead at 60-53 when Kara Pollinger (Jr., Fort Gay, W.Va.) and Alix Membreno (Jr., Loxahatchee, Fla.) quickly drilled consecutive three-point field goals of their own to again winnow the margin down to one point at 60-59 with 4:43 left on the clock. Navy forced Richmond into a turnover on the ensuing possession for the Spiders, then Geif missed a short baseline jumper that would have given the Mids the lead. Richmond missed a pair of field goal attempts the next time it had possessions before Geif ended it by stealing the ball.
Navy again was able to come away with a good look on its next trip down the floor as Pollinger was able to attempt a three-point shot. Her shot missed, however, and it was gathered in by the Spiders. Richmond promptly turned the ball back over to the Mids, but a Membreno pass to the post was intercepted by Richmond's Ryan Dannelly. That would lead to a three-point field goal by Rachael Bilney to push the lead for the Spiders out to 63-59 with three minutes left in the game.
Navy turned the ball over again when Becca Wann stole the ball. She was immediately fouled and converted both free throw attempts to make it a 65-59 Richmond lead with 2:34 left on the clock. The remaining Navy possessions saw the Mids turn the ball over (Richmond steal), miss a shot, turn the ball over (Richmond steal) and turn the ball over (Richmond steal).
"I credit Richmond," said Pemper. "They went to a different lineup with good pressure against us. But we are down one with four minutes to go, and we had the ball a couple of times to take the lead. I think Jade missing her shot was unfortunate because she was an inspiration tonight with the way she battled on the boards and the way she finished inside."
Richmond would outshoot Navy from the field in the second half by an advantage of 45.5%-30.0% and in the game by a mark of 48.2%-42.3%). Navy sank 10 three-point field goals (on 19 attempts) in the game, but made just 12 of 32 (37.5%) two-point attempts on the night.
Though the Mids held a 34-28 edge on the glass in the game, the Spiders grabbed 23 rebounds in the second half to Navy's 18.
The Mids committed 11 first half turnovers before turning the ball over 10 more times in the second half. Those 21 miscues with the ball led to 30 points for the Spiders. Conversely, Navy tallied just 13 points after the 16 turnovers it forced the Spiders into.
Geif just missed a double-double as she made 6 of 8 field goal attempts on her way to totaling 15 points and 9 rebounds on the night. Joining her in double figures was Membreno with 11 points, while both Pollinger and Chloe Stapleton (So., Cary, N.C.) added nine points. Pollinger also dished out six assists for the Mids.
"We made some shots midway through the second half to get into it," said Pemper. "What would have happened had we made those shots at the start of the second half? What does that do to our confidence and to Richmond's confidence? We didn't, though, and we were effectively battling to stay in it. But I like the shots we took in the first four minutes of the half."
Wann led all players in the game with 17 points while also swiping 8 steals and recording 3 assists.
Navy will close out its pre-Patriot League slate of games Tuesday when the Mids play at Princeton.
"I like our team and I believe in our team," said Pemper. "I only hope we can learn from these results. We are working hard, and we prepared well for this game. So it is a tough loss for everyone on our team. We need to have the attitude that we have another opportunity to grow Tuesday on the road against a good Princeton team."