Feb. 15, 2012
Final Stats |
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - After rallying from a 15-point halftime deficit, American held off a late rally by the Navy women's basketball team to defeat the Midshipmen 55-52 Wednesday night at Alumni Hall.
American (19-6, 11-0 Patriot League) secures the No. 1 seed in the upcoming Patriot League Tournament with the win, while Navy (14-11, 7-4 Patriot League) falls back into a tie with Army for second place in the standings with three games remaining.
"It is frustrating to give up 55 points, lose, and say it was because of your second-half defense," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper. "It is disappointing, but I am not discouraged by this. There are a lot of teams who would like to play American to a game like this. They have been crushing people lately."
The teams were tied at 21-21 late in the first half before the Mids closed the frame on a 15-0 run to take a 36-21 lead at the break. Navy shot 55.2 percent from the field, which included a 4-of-8 effort from outside of the three-point line in the half, while limiting American to 31.0 percent shooting and a 1-of-7 tally in three point shots. The Mids also held a 19-14 edge on the glass, with both teams turning the ball over just five times in the first 20 minutes of play.
American started the second half strong by scoring the opening 13 points of the half. The Mids finally scored their first points of the half on a jumper from Audrey Bauer (So., Lake Zurich, Ill.) a little more than four minutes into the half. That bucket allowed Navy to maintain a 38-34 lead. The Eagles would soon tie the game at 41-41 on a pair of free throws -- after Navy's seventh foul of the half -- by Lisa Strack with 9:36 left to play in the game, then took their first lead of the half when a Strack jumper made the score 43-42 with 7:46 remaining on the clock.
Kara Pollinger (So., Fort Gay, W.Va.) gave the Mids the lead with a layup on Navy's next possession, but a jumper by Ebony Edwards and a three-pointer by Jen Dumiak allowed American to take a 48-44 advantage with 6:09 left to play.
Each time Navy sliced into the slim margin, American answered with points of its own. A jumper by Erin Edwards (Sr., Hockessin, Del.) was followed by a layup from Tori Halvorsen, then a free throw by Chloe Stapleton (Fr., Cary, N.C.) was followed by a free throw from Ebony Edwards. Her tally from the foul line gave the Eagles a 51-47 lead with 4:32 remaining in the game.
Pollinger again drew Navy closer with a three-point field goal, but Angela Dobbs hit a jumper to give the Eagles a 53-50 lead with just under three minutes showing on the clock. Jade Geif (So., Lakeville, Minn.) shaved two points off of the margin when she scored on a layup with two minutes left to play, then Erin Edwards tracked down a missed three-point shot by Strack with 95 seconds left to play.
Pollinger missed a long jumper, but Alix Membreno (So., Loxahatchee, Fla.) picked up the loose carom to allow Navy to maintain possession. Erin Edwards would then misfire on a three-point shot from the baseline, but Geif tipped the long rebound out to Membreno to give Navy yet another crack at scoring. That would lead to Pollinger trying a three-point shot of her own, but her missed shot careen out of bounds after last touching a Mid with 30.4 seconds remaining on the clock.
American inbounded the ball to Strack, who took her time in advancing the ball over halfcourt. She was able to wind about 15 seconds off of the clock before Bauer made an attempt to foul her. When Bauer was whistled for the foul, there were just 10.2 seconds left in the game.
"We needed to foul earlier," said Pemper. "That strategy could have been better, and I will take as much responsibility for that as anyone."
Strack made both free throws to expand the American lead to three points. Navy inbounded the ball, but the lone shot Navy could launch before the clock expired was a desperation three-point attempt by Bauer that missed its mark.
"Our defense in the second half just was not good enough," said Pemper. "I credit American for that; they hit some big shots."
Navy was held to just 16 second-half points on 6-of-21 shooting from the field and a 1-of-7 tally from the three-point line, while making just 3-of-8 foul shots. Conversely, American shot 47.8 percent from the floor after halftime, made 3-of-8 three-point attempts and sank 9-of-10 attempts from the charity stripe. The Eagles also held a 19-12 edge over the Mids on the glass.
"American's full-court pressure was more effective in the second half," said Pemper. "But that being said, we only turned the ball over five times after halftime.
"We didn't shoot the ball well in the second half."
Geif, who was 6-of-7 from the field in the first half, tallied just two second-half points to end the game with 14. She was joined in double figures by her teammate Bauer with 10 points.
Alexis Dobbs led American's offense with nine points.
Navy will play its next two games on the road, a span that begins with a Saturday game at Colgate (4 p.m.).
Patriot League Standings (3 games left)
5-6 Holy Cross