Navy Uses Inside-Outside Game to Defeat Army
Jan. 11, 2014
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- Post player Jade Geif (Sr., Lakeville, Minn.) scored a career-high 24 points and her teammates on the perimeter drained eight three-point shots in a balanced performance by the Navy women's basketball team that led to a 74-64 victory for the Mids over Army Saturday afternoon at Alumni Hall in Annapolis, Md.
Navy has now won five consecutive games, while Army saw its four-game winning stream come to a close with the loss. The result boosted the Mids to a 12-3 record on the season and a 4-0 mark in the Patriot League, while the Black Knights now have records of 11-4 and 3-1, respectively.
"Huge win," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper. "To us, this was like a post-season game. So much respective for what Army has done. I think their defense is fantastic; I'm still trying to figure out how we scored 74 points against them."
Army quickly scored the first five points of the game on its way to building an 11-4 lead. Navy answered with an 9-0 run of its own to take a 13-11 lead. The teams traded the lead a couple of times before the Black Knights took a 21-16 advantage with 7:27 remaining before halftime.
A Geif basket and free throw made it a two-point game then, after a field goal by Army, Kara Pollinger (Sr., Fort Gay, W.Va.) drained a three-point shot to make it a one-point game at 23-22. After several empty possessions by both teams, Chloe Stapleton (Jr., Cary, N.C.) hit a three-point shot to give Navy a 25-23 lead. Army's Kelsey Minato promptly converted a pair of free throw attempts to tie the game with 4:37 left on the clock.
Navy would tally the next seven points as part of a first half closing 12-4 run that gave the Mids a 37-29 lead at the break. Pollinger started the run with a driving layup before she soon drained a desperation three-point shot right before the shot clock expired that gave Navy a 32-25 advantage. Stapleton would add another trey with eight seconds left before halftime to close out the scoring.
"After one of the media timeouts," said Geif, "we kind of looked at each other and said, `we are getting great shots, and we are going to hit them.' We all had a lot of confidence in it."
Geif opened the scoring in the second half with a layup to boost the Mids out to a 39-29 advantage. Army scored the ensuing five points to cut the margin in half (39-34), but a 10-5 run by Navy gave the Mids a double digit advantage again at 49-39. Stapleton drained a three-point shot for the Mids to begin the run, which was answered by a jumper from Minato on the other end. Both teams failed to score the next time each had possession of the ball, then Pollinger and Minato exchanged triples for the two teams. After missed shots on each end of the court, Alix Membreno (Sr., Loxahatchee, Fla.) was fouled for the Mids. Her two free throws gave Navy a 47-39 lead. After a missed shot by Minato, Geif followed with a jumper to give Navy its 10-point lead.
Back came the Black Knights and soon it was a five-point game again at 51-46 with 8:15 remaining. Pollinger was fouled on Navy's next possession, and she sank both free throws to give the Mids a 53-46 lead. It quickly was 55-46 when a missed shot by the Black Knights was followed by a Geif jumper. After Army and then Navy failed to score, the Black Knights cut the margin to seven points on a layup by Brianna Johnson. Membreno was fouled again and she made both free throw attempts to make it a nine-point lead. An Army missed trey was followed by Audrey Bauer (Sr., Lake Zurich, Ill.) making one of two free throw attempts for the Mids. Another missed trey by Minato was followed by Geif making two free throws to boost the Mids out to their biggest lead of the game at 60-48 with 4:46 left to play.
It took all of 100 seconds for Army to again winnow the margin down to five points. Jen Hazlett made a pair of layups sandwiched around a missed shot by Geif, with her latter being an old-fashioned three-point play of a bucket and foul shot. Navy failed to get a shot off on its next possession before the shot clock expired, and that turnover was followed by Minato hitting a jumper to make the score 60-55 with 3:04 left to play.
Navy used pretty much all of the 30-second shot clock on its ensuing possession before Membreno drained a three-point shot to give Navy an eight-point cushion.
"Huge," was how Pemper described the three-point shot by Membrenro. "We had a couple of them. Chloe hit a big three and Jade hit a big bank shot with the shot clock going down."
Minato missed a shot on Army's offensive end of the court, with Geif scoring on a jumper on the other end to make it a 65-55 lead with 1:47 left to play.
The Mids would connect on nine of 10 free throw attempts down the stretch to seal the victory.
"Our team was really unselfish, we played well together, we hit some big shots, and had a good inside-outside game going," said Pemper.
Navy connected on 44.7 percent of its field goal attempts on the afternoon, which included a 47.1 percent effort (8-17) from three-point range. The Mids started the game missing 10 of their first 12 shots from the floor, including each of their first five three-point attempts. After that start, Navy was 19 of 35 (54.3%) from the field and 8 of 12 (66.7%) from three-point range over the remainder of the game, while outscoring Army, 70-53.
The Mids also made effective use of their trips to the foul line. Navy was 24 of 29 (82.8%) from the charity stripe in the game.
Defensively, the Mids held Army to 36.4 percent shooting from the field and limited the Black Knights to a 6 of 20 (30.0%) effort from three-point range. Army ended the game 10 of 12 (83.3%) from the foul line.
Geif finished the game 8 of 14 from the field and made all eight of her free throw attempts. Her 24 points Saturday comes one year after she totaled 24 points in two games against Army during the 2013 season. Geif additionally snared a Navy-high seven rebounds, with her final carom of the game also being the 900th of her career. That tally ranks second to Becky Dowling, who was honored at halftime of the game by becoming the first Navy women's basketball player to have her jersey retired.
"I was just feeding off of the confidence of our guards," said Geif. "Kara and Alix were fantastic at getting the ball inside."
"We have some decent offenses to go against," said Pemper. "Sometimes it takes awhile to see how defenses are guarding us. Jade had success the first time she caught it, then we didn't go to her or run anything to get it into her again for about four minutes. So it is like, `hey, let's run that again.'"
Pollinger's also put together another strong all-around day. She drained a trio of three-point shots on her was to scoring 19 points and dishing out a career-high eight assists while committing just one turnover in 39 minutes of playing time.
Joining the duo in double figures was Stapleton, who posted 10 points, while Membreno scored all nine of her points in the second half and contributed six assists and five rebounds.
Minato also had a great game as she led Army with 25 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
"She (Minato) was fantastic," said Pemper. "Our game plan was to contain her, and we really didn't."
Not to be overlooked for Army was Hazlett, who tallied 20 points and six rebounds.
Navy will next be in action Wednesday night when the Mids play at Bucknell.