Women's Hoops Extends Winning Streaks
Feb. 7, 2018
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- A double-double by Laurel Jaunich (So., Charlotte, Vt.) and a career-best scoring night for Bianca Roach (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.) helped the Navy women's basketball team (19-4, 9-3 Patriot League) fend off a pesky Holy Cross squad (10-13, 5-7), 62-54, Wednesday night at Alumni Hall in Annapolis. The Mids remain tied for second place in the Patriot League with the win, which also was their third victory in as many games as well as their 15th-straight home win.
"Our defense really won the game for us," said Roach. "We wanted to pressure the posts, get steals and run."
Neither team could do much offensively in the first half. Navy held just a 23-20 lead at intermission, which came after both teams shot just 30 percent from the floor in the opening 20 minutes of the game. The Crusaders proceeded to tie the game on a three-point basket on the opening possession of the third quarter. Both teams misfired on their ensuing respective possession, then Jaunich scored to break the tie for the Mids. Her layup started an 11-0 run over the next three minutes that gave Navy a 34-23 lead.
Holy Cross answered with a basket after a timeout, but a Taylor Dunham (Sr., Fort Belvoir, Va.) triple started another 8-0 spurt by the Mids that pushed their cushion out to 42-25 with just under four minutes left in the third stanza.
"The third quarter," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper, "we did go to our zone. We gave up an early three but didn't get discouraged. We stayed in it and it got us out to that big lead."
"That's our favorite defense," said Roach. "We like to get steals, and that gets us going."
The first time these teams met, January 11 in Worcester, Mass., Navy held a 16-point lead in the very early stages of the fourth quarter only to see Holy Cross close to within four points with 25.4 seconds still on the clock. The Mids would sink 3-4 foul shots in the game's waning seconds to come away with a 65-58 win.
Tonight, after the Mids took their 17-point third-quarter lead, Holy Cross sliced the margin all the way down to four points with five minutes still to play in the game. Hannah Fenske (Sr., Albuquerque, N.M.) drained a three-point field goal on the other end of the floor, and then a little more than one minute later Roach scored on a layup and foul shot to give Navy some breathing room at 56-46 with 3:09 still to play.
Holy Cross could only pull to within five points of Navy (56-51, 2:25 left) over the remainder of the game. This was despite Navy going just 4-9 from the foul line over the final two minutes of the contest.
"We had to grind out the fourth quarter," said Pemper. "They (Holy Cross) made some shots and we were on our heels a little bit. We couldn't make free throws, and that hurt us. But we got some offensive boards, Taylor had a big three off an offensive board and then Hannah's kind of (Holy Cross) run ending three ... our two senior guards made two really big shots."
Navy tallied 20 assists on its 23 made field goals in the game, which allowed it to shoot 35.4 percent from the field. That mark included a 7-20 (35.0%) showing from three-point land. The Mids, who entered the game shooting a league-best 77.9 percent from the foul line in league games, were just 9-22 (40.9%) from the charity stripe this evening.
Navy's defense limited Holy Cross to 31.6 percent shooting in all, but that was boosted by the Crusaders sinking 7-15 (46.7%) from three-point range. Conversely, Holy Cross was just 11-42 (26.2%) on its two-point attempts.
The Mids also turned the ball over just nine times and forced 17 turnovers. Both teams turned the ball over 18 times in the first meeting. The Mids scored 17 points after the 17 turnovers they forced the Crusaders into this evening.
"Really liked our 20 assists to nine turnovers," said Pemper. "In the last game (against Holy Cross) we had one player alone with seven turnovers. For our team to have only nine was a huge key to the game."
Jaunich scored 10 points and grabbed a career-best 10 rebounds to post the first double-double of her career.
"We just kind of called Laurel an iron horse," said Pemper. "Playing 36 minutes, taking 13 shots, getting a double-double; for her, that is not a typical stat line. We just counted on her to play smart defense. A few times early on in the game, I said to the bench, 'Laurel is our MVP tonight.' She just kept going."
Jaunich was one of four Mids to reach double digits in points, which included Roach tallying a career-high 15 points. Additionally, Dunham posted 13 points, five rebounds and five assists, while Fenske totaled 12 points and seven assists (one short of tying her career high for helpers).
"Bianca was really solid, and we had four in double figures," said Pemper. "She (Roach) was our leading scorer, was efficient and shot the ball really well."
Lauren Manis led Holy Cross with 20 points and 20 rebounds. Her 20 boards tied the Alumni Hall record for the most in a game (Davida Smith, Tennessee-Martin vs. Charleston Southern, Dec. 20, 1995).
Navy will now head to West Point, N.Y., for the annual Star Game against Army. That game tips just after 11 a.m. on Saturday from Christl Arena and will be aired live on the CBS Sports Network.
Patriot League Standings (through 12 of 18 games)
1. 12-0 American
T2. 9-3 Bucknell
T2. 9-3 Navy
4. 7-5 Lehigh
T5. 5-7 Army
T5. 5-7 Loyola
T5. 5-7 Holy Cross
T8. 4-8 Lafayette
T8. 4-8 Boston U.
10. 0-12 Colgate