Jan. 5, 2014
EASTON, Pa. -
Navy shot 50 percent from the field in the first half and controlled the glass throughout the game as the Midshipmen recorded a 67-53 women's basketball victory over Lafayette Sunday afternoon at the Kirby Sports Center in Easton, Pa.
Navy picked up its second league win in as many games this season and improved to 10-3 on the year with the win, while the Leopards saw their record fall to 6-7 on the season and 0-2 in league play.
"A really exciting win," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper. "Any win on the road in the league is a good one, and Lafayette has been a really tough match-up for us. Our women executed a really good defensive game plan."
After Lafayette opened the game with a three-point shot, Navy scored 13 of the next 14 points to build a 13-4 advantage less than five minutes into the game. The Leopards quickly sliced the margin down to one point at 13-12, but the Mids responded by scoring the next seven points to take a 20-12 lead.
The score would soon be 20-18 in favor of the Mids when Navy scored on each of its next four trips down the court to take a 30-20 lead with 5:20 remaining before halftime. Jade Geif (Sr., Lakeville, Minn.) started the run with a jumper. Geif then notched a steal and that led to her assisting on a three-point shot by M.L. Morrison (Sr., Southlake, Texas) that just beat the shot clock buzzer. A pair of free throws by Lafayette were followed by Audrey Bauer (Sr., Lake Zurich, Ill.) snaring an offensive board, which led to Alix Membreno (Sr., Loxahatchee, Fla.) hitting a jumper of her own. Chelsea Terry (So., Stafford, Va.) blocked a shot to end the next Lafayette possession, with Bauer quickly assisting on a three-point shot by Membreno to end the 10-2 run by the Mids.
Navy would go into halftime with a 35-25 lead.
The Mids made 14 of their 28 (50%) field goal attempts in the half, including 6 of 10 (60%) three-point shots, while limiting the Leopards to 34.6 percent (9-26) shooting from the floor and a 3 of 8 (37.5%) effort from three-point range. Navy also held a 22-10 advantage on the glass in the first half, including a 7-2 cushion on the offensive boards.
The Mids scored points on eight of their first nine possessions of the second half to take their largest lead of the game at 48-30 just five minutes into the frame.
Navy still held a 55-38 lead with 11 minutes left to play when the Mids hit a lull on offense. Navy would make just two more field goals over the remainder of the game, but the Mids never let their advantage dip below eight points (56-48).
"In the second half, Lafayette made a nice adjustment to what they were doing offensively, but I thought we were still right in step with it," said Pemper.
Navy ended the game shooting 44.4 percent from the floor and made 9 of its 20 (45%) three-point attempts. On the other end of the floor, the Mids held the Leopards to 32.1 percent shooting from the floor and a 7 of 21 (33.3%) effort from three-point land.
The Mids held a 43-32 overall advantage in rebounding, and though they tallied just six second chance points on their 14 offensive caroms, Navy ran off valuable time in the second half by extending possessions with its offensive rebounding.
"Rebounding was one of our focuses coming into the game," said Pemper. "Lafayette is a strong rebounding team. To out-rebound them by 11 is a big storyline to the game. I think Jade especially kept working; she got some late (offensive rebounds) against their zone and just went after the basketball tonight. Defensively, we had some great rebounding from Chloe Stapleton (Jr., Cary, N.C.) and Kara Pollinger (Sr., Fort Gay, W.Va.)
Four Mids scored in double figures. Pollinger paced Navy with 15 points to go along with seven rebounds, Geif notched a double-double for the second time in three games with a 14-point, 13-rebound performance, Membreno added 14 points, three boards and three assists, while Stapleton drilled a trio of three-point shots on her way to tallying 11 points and seven caroms.
"I am really happy with the maturity we showed tonight," said Pemper. "We had a lot of poise out there in the second half when they cut it to eight.
"Lafayette did a really nice job on Chloe and Audrey Bauer (Sr., Lake Zurich, Ill.). They really stayed with them and that forced Kara and Alix to step up and really score. That was really critical. Credit to Lafayette for what it did on Chloe and Audrey and forcing us to win a different way."
Though Navy's bench accounted for just seven points and five rebounds, the reserves provided valuable defensive minutes and scored at key points in the game.
"I thought we needed someone off the bench to give us a spark," said Pemper. "I was really proud of M.L. She had to play really smart minutes against post players she was giving up three and seven inches to. Those minutes were awesome, and to knock down that three was the most dramatic shot of the game, for sure. Chelsea is earning more minutes (17), so it was nice to give her some runs tonight and see what she could do defensively, and offensively that backdoor cut she got the layup off of was big. It really starts in practice with her; she has had some nice practices lately."
Lafayette was led in scoring by Linnel Macklin's 12 points, with Madeline Fahan scoring 10 points.
Navy returns home for a pair of games this week in Alumni Hall. The two-game homestand opens Wednesday with a 7 p.m. game against Boston University and ends with a 1:30 p.m. game Saturday against Army.