Jan. 31, 2009
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ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- A stingy defense that held Colgate to just 14 second half points allowed the Navy women's basketball team to post a 48-40 victory over the Raiders Saturday night at Alumni Hall in Annapolis.
The victory increases Navy's winning streak to five straight games, the longest winning streak for the program in six years and the most consecutive wins for the Mids in Patriot League play in 11 seasons. Navy stands in second place in the league standings at the close of the first half of the league campaign with a 5-2 record.
"I have been consistently pleased with the way our defense has played over the last number of games," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper. "We did a good job for most of tonight, though there were some errors that had we not made we could have done an even better job than we did."
Navy (12-10, 5-2 Patriot League) closed the first half on an 8-2 run to enter halftime trailing Colgate (4-18, 0-7) by just two points at 26-24. The Mids quickly took a 27-26 lead in the first 90 seconds of the second half, but then neither team would score for well over five minutes until Colgate's Candice Green hit a jumper with 12:54 showing on the clock. Kristin Bowen (Jr., Monroesville, N.J.) promptly scored on an inside shot to give Navy the lead back at 29-28 then, after a steal from Kalen Kropa (Sr., Reidsville, N.C.), Angela Myers (So., San Antonio, Texas) scored on a layup to increase the Navy advantage to 31-28 with 11:37 left to play.
Both teams turned the ball over a pair of times and missed several shots over the next two minutes until Katie Garman drilled a trey for Colgate that tied the score at 31-31 with 9:41 left to play. Kropa would give Navy the lead again when she made a bucket and a foul shot, then Sami Kozlowski hit a jumper to make the score 34-33 with 8:54 remaining in the game. Navy would then go on a 9-0 run to take a 43-33 lead with 1:36 left to play.
Navy made just one field goal during the 9-0 run, a three-pointer by Myers, but the ability of the Mids to crash the offensive boards led to four Navy free throws -- two each by Myers and Cassie Consedine (So., San Antonio, Texas) after each grabbed their own missed shot -- with Kropa also going to the line after being fouled and sinking a pair of free throws with 1:36 to play.
The Raiders would end their seven-minute scoring drought when Green connected on another jumper with 1:27 left to play. Following a Navy turnover, Tayler Wejnert hit a three pointer to cut the margin to five points with 65 seconds remaining in the game. The Raiders chose to play strong defense rather than fouling early on Navy's ensuing possession. With the shot clock winding down, Kropa sneaked around a defender and scored a layup while being fouled with 33.8 seconds showing on the clock. Though she missed the free throw attempt, her bucket gave the Mids a seven-point advantage. The Raiders would miss a jumper with 23 seconds left, then Kropa fed Myers for an easy basket with 18.5 seconds that put the game away.
In addition to scoring just 14 points in the second half -- the fewest points Navy has allowed in the second half of a Patriot League game in school history -- the Raiders shot 26.1 percent from the floor and turned the ball over 12 times after halftime. Navy's offense struggled after halftime, as well, shooting just 30.4 percent from the field and tallying only one more field goal during the second half (7-6) than Colgate recorded. What gave the Mids the scoring advantage was their connecting on 9-of-14 free throw attempts after halftime, while the Raiders missed each of their four second half attempts from the foul line.
Point guards Myers and Kropa combined to score 19 of Navy's 24 second half points. Separately in the game, Myers tallied 16 points, six rebounds, two assists and three steals, while Kropa posted 10 points, a career-high nine rebounds, four assists and one steal. Between the two of them they totaled just three turnovers in a combined 72 minutes of playing time.
"Kalen and Angela showed their toughness tonight," said Pemper. "Anglea hit a big three pointer for us and Kalen's late drive pretty much sealed the victory."
Green and Garman both scored eight points in the game to lead the Colgate offense.
Navy will open the second half of the Patriot League season Feb. 7 when the Mids play host to Bucknell.
Patriot League Standings (after 7 of 14 league games)
1. Lehigh, 6-1
2. Navy, 5-2
3. American, 5-2
4. Holy Cross, 4-3
5. Bucknell, 3-4
6. Army, 3-4
7. Lafayette, 2-5
8. Colgate, 0-7