Mids Strong at Free Throw Line Down Stretch to Seal Win
BOSTON, Mass. – Timely free throw shooting down the stretch and a late steal by Hannah Fenske (Sr., Albuquerque, N.M.) allowed the Navy women’s basketball team to come away with a 64-59 victory over Boston U. Saturday afternoon at Case Gym in Boston, Mass. The win was the fifth in a row for the Mids (16-3, 6-2 Patriot League) and the loss was the third in a row for the Terriers (8-10, 3-5).
Navy slowly built an early lead thanks to a trio of three-point field goals, then took a 15-8 advantage into the second quarter. The Mids would extend their lead to a first-half best 10 points at 24-14 only to see the Terriers run off the next seven points to winnow the difference down to 24-21. Navy accounted for the final three points of the first half to take a 27-21 lead at the break.
Navy doubled its lead in the opening minutes of the third quarter as a quick 6-0 run gave it a 33-21 lead. The Terriers would whittle that back down to six points after back-to-back triples made the score 33-27.
Navy went on a little run to regain a double-digit lead at 38-27, but Boston U. scored the next eight points to climb to within 38-35. Kaila Clark (So., Hughesville, Md.) had an offensive board and basket late in the frame to make the score 40-35 through 30 minutes of play.
The Mids held a couple of double-digit leads in the early stages of the fourth quarter only to see the Terriers climb right back into the game. Navy led 46-35 and 49-39, but that lead was down to 49-47 with just over six minutes remaining.
Fenske drilled her third three-point field goal of the fourth quarter to stretch the Navy lead back to two possessions, 52-47, but Boston answered on the other end to make the score 52-49, with another score by the Terriers cutting the score down to 52-51.
“I got open,” said Fenske on her shooting effort in the fourth quarter. “That first shot really got my confidence going. I was missing in the early part of the game. Just seeing one go through the net really helped. And my teammates did a good job of using the extra pass and finding me when I was open.”
Taylor Dunham (Sr., Fort Belvoir, Va.) promptly sank a triple to give the Mids a 55-51 lead with three minutes left on the clock. The score remained that way until Molly Sanders (Jr., Ames, Iowa) made a pair of free throws to give Navy a 57-51 lead with 53.4 seconds still to play.
The score was soon 59-53 with 46.6 seconds remaining after both teams made a pair of free throws. The Terriers then scored, stole the inbounds pass and scored again to cut the margin down to 59-57 with 19.7 seconds left.
Fenske was fouled with 18.8 seconds still to play, but made just one of her two attempts (60-57). The Mids forced the Terriers to run some time off the clock before the home team scored with 8.4 seconds left to again make it a one-point game (60-59).
Boston fouled Mary Kate Ulasewicz (So., Doylestown, Pa.) with 6.9 seconds left and she made both free throws to extend the lead to three points at 62-59. The Terriers called their last timeout to advance the ball to in front of their bench. Fenske knocked the short inbounds pass away and went the other way for a layup just prior to the final horn sounding to seal the victory.
“My teammates did a great job of just denying their players,” began Fenske’s analysis of the final play. “I think their (Boston’s) initial action didn’t work so they were just trying to throw the ball in to whomever was open. I was sagging off the player inbounding it. I was reading her eyes and saw where she was going to throw it. I was able to jump the passing lane, grab it and just go.”
Navy was 12-14 from the foul line in the game, which included a 7-8 effort in the fourth quarter (all in the last minute of play). On the other end, Boston was 7-12 from the charity stripe.
The Terriers made more field goals in the game (23-21), but the Mids made 10 triples and allowed just six.
Clark totaled her third double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds while also recording four blocked shots.
“Just switching up the defenses,” said Clark as to the reasons behind her success today. “You couldn’t stay on one side too long. They (the Boston post players) were bigger than me, obviously. I had to switch up my defenses and move around them. Hopefully my speed would make up for the size difference. I think that helped me get a couple of steals and blocks.”
She was one of four Mids to reach double figures in points: Fenske had 17, Sanders had 11 and Dunham had 13.
Navy will next play Wednesday night at Bucknell.