Jan. 15, 2014
LEWISBURG, Pa. -
After letting leads slip away on the final possession of both regulation and the first overtime session, the Navy women's basketball team hung on to defeat Bucknell, 94-92 in two overtimes, Wednesday night at Sojka Pavilion in Lewisburg, Pa.
"What a game!" said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper. "We knew it would be a good one, and so did they (Bucknell).
"Credit to both teams for really wanting it."
The Bison (8-7, 3-2 Patriot League) held slim leads through most of the first half before they opened up a 35-26 lead with two minutes remaining before halftime. Navy (13-3, 5-0) ended the half with back-to-back three-point field goals by Chloe Stapleton (Jr., Cary, N.C.) and another one from Kara Pollinger (Sr., Fort Gay, W.Va.) with six seconds left in the frame to tie the game, 35-35, at the break.
Navy continued its run in the early moments of the second half by scoring the first four points and seven of the first nine to take a 42-37 lead. Bucknell would tie the game at 47-47 with 13:53 left in the half. The teams would traded slim leads 16 times over the rest of the half, including when Pollinger made two free throws that gave Navy a 72-71 lead with 1:06 left on the clock.
A Bucknell offensive foul gave the ball back to the Mids with 59 seconds left, but a missed triple by Navy returned the ball to the Bison with 35 seconds remaining. Audrey Dotson would miss a three-point attempt for Bucknell with 14 seconds left. Stapleton snared the carom with 12 seconds left and was fouled three seconds later. After walking to the other end of the court, Stapleton missed the first and made the second foul shot to make the score 73-71.
Bucknell rushed the ball down the court and gave it to Dotson, who rolled left and leaned in a short jumper as time expired to second the game into overtime.
(Sr., Lakeville, Minn.) scored on the first possession of the overtime to give Navy a two-point lead, but Bucknell answered with a back-to-back field goals to take a 77-75 lead. It was a 77-76 game when Alix Membreno
(Sr., Loxahatchee, Fla.) drained a three-point shot -- which accounted for career points Nos. 999, 1,000 and 1,001 -- to give the Mids a 79-78 lead with 2:10 showing on the clock.
Both teams missed shots on their next respective possession, then another miss three-point shot by Dotson was grabbed by Pollinger with one minute remaining. Membreno would miss a three-point shot for the Mids, but Geif grabbed the loose ball for Navy with just over 30 seconds remaining. Navy was able to run time off of the clock before Membreno was fouled with 18 seconds left. She made both attempts from the line to boost Navy's lead out to 81-78.
Bucknell made the score 81-80 with eight seconds remaining on a jumper by Megan McGurk. Navy inbouned the ball and gave it to Membreno and she was immediately fouled. As Stapleton did at the end of regulation, she missed the first but made the second attempt. Bucknell's Shelby Romine received the inbounds pass and she kept the ball in her hands the length of the court before she too leaned in a short jumper as the horn sounded to force a second extra session.
"It is tough defending in those situations," said Pemper. "You don't want to foul, and you don't want to have the game end on a kick-out three pointer to lose. We didn't have answer for that play. If the game went five overtimes I think they still would be scoring on it."
Navy began the second extra period by scoring the first seven points to take an 89-82 advantage 100 seconds into the frame. The Mids would also hold a seven-point lead at 91-84 with 44 seconds showing on the clock.
Two free throws by Romine made it a five-point game with 38 seconds left. The Bison fouled Membreno a few seconds later. She would miss both foul shots, but managed to pull down the carom after her second miss. Membrebo quickly got the ball into the hands of Pollinger who was fouled with 31 seconds left. Pollinger had no more luck at the line than Membreno did as she misfired on both attempts. Her second miss was snared by Romine, who raced down the court and scored on a layup with 24 seconds remaining to make it a 91-88 game.
Navy inbounded the ball and ran off seven seconds before Erin Meador (Jr., Clifton, Va.) was fouled with 17 seconds left. She missed the first and made the second to give the Mids a 92-88 lead. Romine again took the ball the majority of the length of the court and scored on a short jumper to cut the lead down to 92-90 with 13 seconds left on the clock.
Membreno received the inbounds pass and she was fouled with 11 seconds showing on the clock. She would miss the first but make the second foul shot to give Navy a 93-90 lead. Romine again was the primary option for the Bison and she pulled up for a three-point shot with five seconds left. Her shot fell short, but Membreno was whistled for fouling her on the shot. That sent Romine to the foul line for three shots. After making the first two attempts, Navy called timeout. Romine went back to the line, but this time she missed the game-tying attempt and it was snared by Meador who was immediately fouled with four seconds left.
Meador missed the first foul shot and then missed the second, but Membreno sliced between several people to grab the loose ball and she was fouled with three seconds remaining. The poor shooting continued for the Mids, however, as she also missed the first attempt from the line. Membreno would regroup and make the second attempt to give Navy a three-point lead.
Romine rushed the ball over halfcourt and launched a 27-foot shot that went wide of the rim as the horn sounded.
"In a lot of ways," said Pemper, "Bucknell outplayed us. In the overtimes they missed some shots they had been making. With the way we had been shooting free throws, making a few of them could have been the difference in the game."
The shooting statistics from the field between the teams were nearly identical. Navy made 31 field goals and shot 41.3 percent while Buckell made 32 field goals and shot 44.4 percent. The Mids were 9-25 from three-point range (36.0%) while the Bison were 6-18 (33.3%).
However, there was a significant difference at the free throw line. Bucknell was 22 of 27 (81.5%) from the charity stripe while Navy was 23 of 45 (51.1%). In the overtime periods alone the Mids were 10 of 24 (41.7%) from the foul line while the Bison were 7 of 11 (63.3%).
"Our kids are extremely frustrated with our free throw shooting," said Pemper. "We didn't show a lot of mental toughness of being seniors in the overtime periods. They are 21 years old and you would think they should be excited at pulling out a win like this. We shot free throws well Saturday in a big home win (against Army). Our poor free throw shooting has been with us for awhile and we haven't found a solution for it."
Navy would end the 50-minute game with a 55-37 advantage in rebounding, including a 20-7 advantage on the offensive glass.
Geif, who missed most of practice on Monday and Tuesday due to being ill, snared 11 offensive boards, grabbed a career-high 17 overall rebounds and scored 13 points in 42 minutes of playing time.
"Eleven offensive rebounds is really impressive," said Pemper. "Jade played really smart with having four fouls."
Membreno, who too has been sick all week, scored 34 points and snared nine rebounds in her 45 minutes on the court. The 34 points are the most scored by a Mid in a Patriot League game in school history and ranks sixth all time on Navy's single-game scoring list. She also is the 17th Mid to surpass the 1,000-point mark.
"Alix really wanted this game," said Pemper. "I'm not sure how she was able to get that offensive rebound in the second overtime. Both she and Jade really gutted things out after each of them had been sick."e
Stapleton also played 45 minutes and she tallied 16 points in that time. M.L. Morrison (Sr., Southlake, Texas) was Navy's top reserve on the night as she connected on 5 of 9 field goal attempts on her way to scoring 15 points.
Meanwhile, Pollinger never left the court and posted a stats line of nine points, eight rebounds, eight assists and just one turnover.
Dotson led Bucknell with 28 points, while Romine scored 12 of her 17 points in the two overtime periods.
Navy, which played its first multiple overtime game since losing in two overtimes to Troy in January 2006, will be back on the Alumni Hall court Saturday night when the Mids play host to Colgate at 7 p.m.