Feb. 8, 2014
WEST POINT, N.Y. - The Navy women's basketball team tied season lows for points scored and three-point field goal percentage and made its second-fewest number of triples in a game this year in a 54-48 loss to Army Saturday afternoon at Christl Arena in West Point, N.Y.
"Army played really great defense," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper, "there is no question about that. They did a good job with their ball-screen defense.
"We can definitely play better, but a lot of credit to them (Army)."
Navy (18-5, 10-2 Patriot League) held a slim lead -- of as many as five points -- for the majority of the first half before Army (17-5, 9-2) took a 24-21 lead. The two teams would go into halftime tied at 26-26.
The Mids shot 32 percent from the field in the first half, including a 3 of 13 (23.1%) effort from three-point range. Conversely, the Black Knights made 36.7 percent of their field goal attempts and were 4 of 8 from beyond the arc. What kept the Mids in the game was their foul shooting. Navy made 7 of 10 shots from the charity stripe while Army missed the lone two free throws it attempted in the first stanza.
Army quickly scored the opening five points of the second half, but just as quickly Navy scored the next eight to take a 34-31 lead. The Black Knights answered with a 6-0 run of their own to regain the lead at 40-34. Back came the Mids with an 8-2 run to tie the game once again at 42-42 with 6:29 left in the game.
Army took the lead back when a 5-0 run gave it a 47-42 lead with 5:24 showing on the clock. The Mids cut the margin down to two points at 47-45 on a three-point shot by Alix Membreno (Sr., Loxahatchee, Fla.) with just over four minutes left to play. However, that would be the last basket made by the Mids until another trey by Membreno with 12 seconds left pulled Navy to within 53-48. In between the treys by Membreno, Navy committed three turnovers and missed a pair of three-point attempts.
"We had such a cold start to the game with our shooting," said Pemper. "Then we didn't get as good of looks in the second half as we did in the first."
Navy ended the game making just 5 of 20 (25.0%) three-point attempts and 35.4 percent of its overall shots from the floor. Army's shooting wasn't much better percentage-wise (37.0% overall), but the Black Knights were 8 of 18 (44.4%) from three-point land.
"Our kids definitely worked hard," said Pemper. "I thought our defense was great. We knew coming in we would have to score to win."
Jade Geif (Sr., Lakeville, Minn.) made 5 of 10 shots from the floor to lead Navy with 13 points while also grabbing nine boards. Membreno totaled 11 points and seven rebounds, while Kara Pollinger (Sr., Fort Gay, W.Va.) added 11 points.
Army's Kelsey Minato and Jen Hazlett were each 4 of 15 from the field, with the two players tallying 14 and 12 points, respectively. Also scoring 12 points was Jean Parker, with each of her four baskets being three-point shots.
"We paid a lot of attention to Minato, and they had some other players step up for them," said Pemper.
Navy will be back in Alumni Hall Wednesday night when the Mids play host to Bucknell at 7 p.m.