Winning Streak Ends for Women's Basketball
LEWISBURG, Pa. -- An off night of shooting night by the Navy women's basketball team negated its defensive effort in a 47-39 loss to Bucknell Wednesday night at Sojka Pavilion in Lewisburg, Pa. Both teams are now 6-3 in Patriot League play after the decision that ended Navy's (16-4 overall) five-game winning streak.
"We have probably played our best and won our best games when we have been in the lead for most of the game," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper. "This was one of the few we have been behind most of the time. We want to try and find a way to play better from behind. I think we have to have a little more confidence coming out of the gate to have a chance to beat a good team on the road."
Navy made the opening field goal of the game, a three-point basket by Hannah Fenske (Sr., Albuquerque, N.M.), but proceeded to go on a seven-minute scoreless drought until a Taylor Dunham (Sr., Fort Belvoir, Va.) layup with 1:30 left in the frame made the score 11-5 in favor of the Bison. Bucknell would take a 15-5 lead into the second quarter.
The Mids closed to within five points midway through the second stanza when Fenske made a layup to cut the deficit down to 17-12. Bucknell would outscore Navy 6-2 over the rest of the half to head into the locker room with a 23-14 lead.
The 14 points scored by the Mids was a season low for the first half (previous low was 25 points). Navy shot just 17.2 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes of play. That 5-29 effort included a 1-12 showing from three-point range. Fenske was 3-7 from the field and the rest of the team was 2-22. Conversely, Bucknell shot 31 percent (9-29) from the floor and also made just one three-point attempt (1-7). The Bison also held a 25-17 advantage in the glass in the half.
Navy slowly climbed back into the game in the latter stages of the third quarter. Mary Kate Ulasewicz (So., Doylestown, Pa.) and Sophie Gatzounas (Fr., South Hadley, Mass.) connected on back-to-back triples to pull the Mids to within 34-29 with a little more than two minutes left in the frame. Ulasewicz then drained a mid-range jumper to make it a 34-31 game with 45 seconds left on the clock. The Bison would hit a late triple to extend their lead out to 37-31 through the third quarter of play.
"I was pleased with the way we battled in the third quarter and scored a lot of points (17)," said Pemper. "We found a good lineup out there. Sophie gave us some really good minutes. Bianca Roach (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.) battled, Jasmine Bishop (Fr., Twinsburg, Ohio) battled defensively, Hannah had confidence even though her shot wasn't falling. It was good that we had a lineup that brought us back into the game."
Navy quickly made the margin four points early in the fourth quarter when Ulasewicz made a jumper, but Bucknell ran off the next eight points to take a 45-33 lead with 5:39 left to play. The Mids whittled the gap down to six points at again at 45-39 with a little more than one minute left. Bucknell made a pair of late free throws to account for the final points.
"A lot of credit to Bucknell," said Pemper. "They ran their stuff and we defended well, but it takes a lot out of you to defend the whole shot clock. And they made some big baskets."
The 39 points scored by the Mids was a new season low (41 at American), and their 26.2 percent shooting from the floor was their lowest of the season. Navy was just 4-23 (17.4%) from three-point range, which was the team's second-lowest percentage of the year.
Bucknell shot 39.4 percent (17-48) from the field, which included a 4-13 (30.8%) effort from three-point range. Additionally, the Bison were 9-11 from the foul line and Navy was 3-6.
Bucknell turned the ball over 20 times, but Navy scored just 14 points after those miscues. On the other end of the court, the Mids committed 10 turnovers which led to 10 Bison points.
"We forced a lot of turnovers," said Pemper, "but that didn't create a lot of transition opportunities. We have to figure out and work on getting better at that and in these slugfest type of games improve at taking advantage of those little windows of opportunities and trying to push it and score."
Fenske, Bianca Roach (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.) and Ulasewicz all scored seven points for the Mids, with Gatzounas snaring 10 rebounds.
Navy will be back in Alumni Hall Saturday at 7 p.m. when it plays host to Lehigh.