Senior Duo Sparks Women’s Basketball Team in Win
WORCESTER, Mass. – Hannah Fenske (Sr., Albuquerque, N.M.) and Taylor Dunham (Sr., Fort Belvoir, Va.) combined for 45 points to boost the Navy women’s basketball team to a 65-58 victory over Holy Cross Thursday night at the Hart Center in Worcester, Mass. Navy improves its record to 3-2 in Patriot League play and 13-3 overall with the win and Holy Cross falls to 7-9 overall and 2-3 against league foes with the loss.
“Back-to-back wins are always great,” said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper. “We’re just happy. We played well, shot the ball well, competed pretty hard. We were definitely challenged tonight a lot inside and on the perimeter. I was happy with how we rebounded and kept scoring. That was critical.”
“This and our win Monday against Colgate were really good team wins,” said Fenske. “We struggled a bit with back-to-back losses coming into Colgate. This was a big team effort tonight not only on the court but our bench was really fired up and gave us a lot of momentum late in the game.”
The Mids had a slow start to the game offensively. Navy fell behind 17-10 through the first 10 minutes of the game. It was just the third time this season and first since the third game of the year in which the Mids trailed at the end of the first quarter of play.
Navy promptly started the second quarter on an 8-0 run to retake the lead at 18-17. Navy would sink 9-14 (64.3%) shots in the stanza to build a 32-27 lead at the break.
Fenske sparked the Mids in the second quarter by scoring half of the team’s 22 points. That effort gave her 14 in the first half.
Navy quickly took an eight-point lead in the early stages of the third quarter only to see Holy Cross slice the margin down to four points at 37-33. The difference was six points at 41-35 with 4:39 left in the frame, then the Mids closed the stanza on a 9-2 run that gave them a 50-37 lead through 30 minutes of play.
Fenske drained a three-point field goal one minute into the fourth quarter to extend the margin out to 16 points. It was soon a 14-point game at 56-42 with just under seven minutes remaining when the Crusaders made their run. Holy Cross slowly whittled the difference down to four points at 62-56 with 25 seconds left. Forced to foul, the Crusaders sent Fenske to the line three seconds later where she made both attempts to push the lead to 64-58. Holy Cross missed a triple on its next possession, which was rebounded by Morgan Taylor (So., Evans, Ga.). She was fouled and made one free throw attempt to close out the scoring.
The Crusaders employed a trapping defense in the second half in an effort to rally, but the Mids committed only seven turnovers in the second half.
“Having poise with two guards up and one in the middle and not letting the pressure get to us,” explained Fenske as to why the Mids handled it well. “Having the right reads and not let pressure take us out of our game were the keys.”
Navy ended the game sinking nine three-point field goal (22 attempts) and shooting 45.3 percent from the field. This was in contrast to Holy Cross which was 3-16 from three-point land and made 37.9 percent of its overall shots from the floor.
Fenske scored a career-high 24 points and Dunham scored 21 points. Fenske also was one of a trio of Mids to snare seven rebounds.
“Just seeing a couple (of shots) go through Monday against Colgate gave me some confidence today,” said Fenske. “My teammates have had a lot of faith in me.”
The Mids will be back in Alumni Hall Sunday when they play host to Army at noon. The men’s teams from the two service academies will play Sunday at 2:30 p.m. Both games will be televised nationally by the CBS Sports Network.