EASTON, Pa. - Jade Geif (Jr., Lakeville, Minn.) tallied seven points, two rebounds and one steal in overtime to help the Navy women's basketball team record a 60-52 victory over Lafayette Saturday afternoon at the Kirby Sports Center in Easton, Pa.
"It was a great second half and overtime," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper. "Kind of a cliché in that it was a fun game to be part of. I thought kids from both teams hit big shots, player responded, I think it would have been a better game had the ball been going in for both teams a little more. Had we lost, I would have felt like Lafayette beat us, not that we beat ourselves, and I think Lafayette would have felt the same way."
Navy (14-9, 7-1 Patriot League) entered the day averaging almost 60 points a game since the start of the league season, but the Mids scored just 10 points in the first 18 minutes of the game. Lafayette (10-13, 3-5) quickly jumped out to an 8-2 lead and soon built a 20-10 advantage over the Mids. Navy had not connected on a three-point shot in the game until Audrey Bauer (Jr., Lake Zurich, Ill.) sank one with two minutes left in the half. After going 18 minutes without any triples, it took just 80 seconds after Bauer's first before Chloe Stapleton (So., Cary, N.C.) made the second of the game for the Mids. That bucket allowed Navy to go into halftime trailing by just four points, 20-16.
Navy was just 6 of 26 (23.1%) from the floor in the first half, but held Lafayette to a 10 of 32 (31.3%) production.
Lafayette made its first three-point shot of the game on its initial possession of the second half to take a 23-16 lead, which eventually became 26-18 at the 18:22 mark. Geif soon recorded a steal and that led to a three-point field goal by Alix Membreno (Jr., Loxahatchee, Fla.). Geif promptly stole the ball to end the ensuing Lafayette possession, which was followed by Membreno connecting on another triple to pull Navy to within two points at 26-24.
The Leopards would stretch their lead back out to six points at both 30-24 and 32-26, then Kara Pollinger (Jr., Fort Gay, W.Va.) sank a three-point shot of her own to slice the lead in half with 8:26 showing on the clock. Stapleton recorded a steal on Lafayette's next trip down the court, then M.L. Morrison (Jr., Southlake, Texas) grabbed the rebound on her own missed shot. That would lead to Geif scoring on a shot from in the paint to draw the Mids to within one point. Pollinger then grabbed a rebound on one end of the court before scoring on a baseline, backward layup on the other end to give the Mids their first lead since 2-0 at 33-32 with 7:19 left in regulation.
The lead changed hands on each of the next two possessions before a free throw by the Leopards tied the score at 35-35 with 6:21 left. The teams traded field goals before back-to-back field goals by Membreno and Bauer gave Navy a 41-37 lead at the 4:30 mark. That cushion lasted all of 90 seconds before the Leopards tied the game again at 41-41 with three minutes showing on the clock.
Both teams failed to score on their next respective possession, then Geif scored on a short jumper. Lafayette would give the ball back to the Mids after committing a shot clock violation, with Navy capitalizing on the miscue when Stapleton hit a three-point shot with one minute left to give Navy a 46-41 lead.
Lafayette shaved three points off of that margin on a long field goal by Alicia Manning. An offense foul on Membreno gave the ball back to the Leopards, with Manning soon scoring on a layup to tie the game at 46-46 with 17.6 seconds remaining. Navy gave the ball to Membreno and she scored on a jumper to give Navy a two-point lead with 12.6 seconds left to play. Lafayette put the ball into the hands of Maddie Peabody and she went the length of the court to score on a layup that tied the game at 48-48 with six seconds left on the clock. The Mids gave the ball to Pollinger who weaved her way over halfcourt before her 35-foot shot at the buzzer was off its mark.
Lafayette won the tip to start overtime, but missed its opening shot of the extra possession. Navy made the most of its initial trip down the court when Bauer sank a three-point shot. A Peabody jumper made it a 51-50 lead, then both teams missed shots on their next respective times with the ball. That led to Geif scoring on a jumper to stretch the Navy lead back to three points before Danielle Fiacco hit a jumper of her own to drop the advantage for the Mids down to 53-52 at the halfway mark of the period.
Navy used up all but the last tenth of a second of its 30-second shot clock before Pollinger flipped the ball to Geif who scored on a layup as the clock expired to make the score 55-52 in favor of the Mids with 1:46 left to play. Geif proceeded to steal the ball to end the next Lafayette possession, then Membreno scored on a layup to give the Mids a five-point cushion with 60 seconds left on the clock.
Membreno gave the ball back to the Mids 15 seconds later on a steal. She fed Stapleton who missed a layup, but Pollinger was there for the rebound. Lafayette fouled three times in the next 10 seconds, with the latter of the three calls sending Geif to the foul line with 29 seconds left to play. She made the first shot - 58-52 -- before missing the second, with the carom being grabbed by Fiacco.
The Leopards missed two three-point shots on their resulting trip down the court. The second errant shot went out of bounds, with possession going to the Mids with 16 seconds left. Lafayette fouled Membreno on the inbounds pass, and she missed the front end of the bonus. However, Geif was there to grab the rebound and she was immediately fouled with 13 seconds left. Geif would sink both foul shots to close out the scoring in the game.
"I was really proud of our team," said Pemper. "I thought Alix had a good second half, and Jade had a good second half. Chloe didn't shoot the ball well but had a big `three' late. We got some big stops. Big win for us."
The win was Navy's fourth in its last nine trips to Easton, and marked the first time the Mids have won back-to-back games against the Leopards in Easton since winning three in a row from 2002-04.
Navy made just six field goals in the first half, but made four in the five-minute overtime period. The Mids would end the game shooting 37.5 percent from the floor and making 7 of 24 (29.2%) three-point attempts, while Lafayette was 2 of 7 from the floor in overtime to finish shooting 37.7 percent.
The Mids turned the ball over seven times in the first half but committed just seven turnovers the last 25 minutes of the game. Conversely, Navy forced Lafayette into 13 turnovers in the second half and overtime after the Leopards had just four first-half turnovers. In all, Navy scored 21 points off Lafayette's 17 turnovers, while the Leopards tallied 14 points after Navy's 14 turnovers.
Geif was 3 of 3 from the floor in the overtime period to shoot 7 of 13 from the field in the game. She would record 15 of her game-high 19 points once the second half started, while totaling nine rebounds and four steals. Membreno also had a strong end to the game as she posted 14 of her 18 points in the second half and overtime session, while also totaling five rebounds, four assists and four steals.
"At halftime I thought Alix was a decent matchup for us," said Pemper. "If this was the NBA, they (Lafayette) were doing a great job on Jade without doubling her; they were doing a nice on Audrey, staying right with her; they were doing a nice job on Chloe, staying right with her; they were doing a good job on Kara. I thought Alix was a matchup we could try and take advantage of, but she hadn't been playing well at that point."
Bauer chipped in eight points and 11 rebounds, Stapleton finished with eight points and Pollinger tallied seven points, six assists and five rebounds.
"We thought we executed a little better in the second half," said Pemper. "I know we tried to run some different stuff. I thought Lafayette's defense was really good, and absolutely better than it was when we played them in Annapolis."
Emily Homan led Lafayette with 12 points, but she scored just four of those points after halftime.
Navy will open up two-game homestand Wednesday night when the Mids play host to Holy Cross.