Jan. 8, 2013
PRINCETON, N.J. - Princeton scored the game's final 15 points to hold off a late rally by the Navy women's basketball team and defeat the Midshipmen, 70-50,Tuesday night at Jadwin Gym in Princeton, N.J.
"Tough loss for us," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper, whose Mids posted a win over the Tigers a year ago in Annapolis. "They are really good. I think Princeton is the best team on our schedule."
Navy (7-8), winners of the last two Patriot League Tournament titles, trailed Princeton (9-6), the 2010, 2011 and 2012 Ivy League champion, by as many as 15 points in the early part of the second half. It was still a 12-point margin for the Tigers midway through the frame when Navy scored the ensuing seven points to close to within 53-48 with just over eight minutes left on the clock.
Chloe Stapleton (So., Cary, N.C.) started the Navy run with a three-point field goal. After Princeton's Kate Miller missed a two free throw attempts, Alix Membreno (Jr., Loxahatchee, Fla.) scored on a layup to make the score 53-46. The Tigers would miss a pair of three-point field goal attempts on their next possession, with the latter carom going out of bounds after being touched by Princeton. Jade Geif (Jr., Lakeville, Minn.) was then fouled on a move to the basket on Navy's ensuing possession. She converted both attempts from the charity stripe to make it a five-point game with 8:28 left on the clock.
Stapleton ended the next Princeton trip down the court with a steal, then the Mids again sent the ball inside to Geif. She would miss a twisting five-foot jumper, with the Tigers grabbing the rebound. Princeton gave the ball right back to Navy, and this time Kara Pollinger (Jr., Fort Gay, W.Va.) would miss a three-point shot that would have made it a two-point game, with Princeton again grabbing the loose ball. The Mids again regained possession rather quickly as players from both teams grabbed for a bouncing ball and the arrow was pointing in the direction of the Mids. This time, however, Membreno had the ball stolen from her by Mariah Smith, and that led to a layup by teammate Blake Dietrick.
Navy answered immediately with a Geif jumper that again made it a five-point game -- 55-50 -- with seven minutes remaining on the clock. The Tigers responded with a three-point field goal by Michelle Miller. From there, Navy was 0 of 7 from the field and turned the ball over three times while Princeton made 6 of its last 8 shots from the floor and committed just one turnover.
"We didn't shoot the ball well enough to win," said Pemper. "We have to find a way to rebound better. At key possessions down the stretch we just turned it over or couldn't hit shots, and then we couldn't keep Princeton off the glass."
The Mids were playing well offensively in the early part of the game as they built a 19-14 lead with 11 minutes left in the half. Princeton would proceed to go on a 19-1 run over the next six minutes to take a 33-20 advantage with just under five minutes remaining on the clock. The Tigers would go into halftime holding a 36-26 lead.
Helping Princeton to its sizeable halftime cushion was its 58.3 percent shooting from the field while it held Navy to a mark of 37.9 percent. The Tigers would also outshoot Navy, 41.2%-36.0%, in the second half.
Navy held a 7-3 edge in offensive rebounds at halftime, but Princeton would snare 14 offensive boards in the second half while limiting the Mids to just 4. This allowed the Tigers to enjoy a 12-3 advantage in second chance points scored after halftime.
Geif connected on 7 of 11 field goal attempts and made 4 of 7 free throw attempts -- she was the lone Mid to make a trip to the free throw line in the game -- to score a Navy-best 18 points. Geif also added a Navy-high seven rebounds to her statistical line.
"I thought Jade was terrific," said Pemper. "She was really trying to will us to a win."
Joining her in double figures was Pollinger, who made a trio of three-point field goal attempts on her way to scoring 11 points for the Mids.
Princeton's Niveen Rashid matched Geif's scoring effort, while also dishing out four assists.
Navy will return to Alumni Hall Sunday to open its Patriot League season with a noon game against Lafayette that will be televised nationally by the CBS Sports Network.