Feb. 15, 2014
HAMILTON, N.Y. - A 31-4 run that spanned the end of the first half and the start of the second half allowed the Navy women's basketball team to separate itself from Colgate and go on to post a 76-47 victory over the Raiders Saturday evening at Cotterell Court in Hamilton, N.Y.
"There is no question our maturity showed tonight," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper. "I felt our players were really focused. I thought Colgate, coming off a narrow loss up at Boston on Wednesday (72-68), they definitely had a lot of enthusiasm to start the game. Just the typical seven-hour bus trip and typical challenge playing at Hamilton (Navy is 11-12 all-time on the road against Colgate) were increased because of those two factors, the Boston game and their enthusiasm."
Navy seemed on the verge of breaking open the game midway through the first half as it built a 20-12 lead with just under 10 minutes left in the first half. Colgate quickly scored the next eight points to tie the game at 20-20 with 7:40 remaining on the clock.
Jade Geif (Sr., Lakeville, Minn.) promptly tallied the next six points to give the Mids a 26-20 lead. After Alix Membreno (Sr., Loxahatchee, Fla.) made one of two free throw attempts, the Raiders connected on a field goal to make the score 27-22 with just under three minutes remaining in the half.
Navy would score on each if its final five possessions of the half as Membreno scored on a layup, Audrey Bauer (Sr., Lake Zurich, Ill.) hit a triple, Kara Pollinger (Sr., Fort Gay, W.Va.) made a layup, Chloe Stapleton (Jr., Cary, N.C.) made a three-point shot and Pollinger sank a long jumper as the first half horn sounded. That closed a 19-2 run that gave Navy a 39-22 advantage heading into the locker rooms.
The Mids were able to carry that momentum over into the start of the second half. Pollinger drained a second-chance three-point shot on Navy's first possession, Geif connected on layups on the team's second and third trips down the court, then a Bauer steal led to a breakaway layup for Pollinger that boosted the Mids out to a 48-24 lead. Geif soon made one of two free throw attempts, then a short while later Membreno sank a jumper to give the Mids a 12-2 start to the second half and a 51-24 cushion with over 15 minutes left on the clock.
"We got off to another cold start from the field, but I liked our energy and our shots from the field," said Pemper. "They got off to kind of a hot start, but then we settled in and went on a great run. I thought Kara and Alex were really good defensively and offensively, and we again had good inside-outside action. I thought our defense was really solid all night."
Colgate ran off the ensuing nine points to cut the margin down to 51-33 with 12:26 remaining in the game. M.L. Morrison (Sr., Southlake, Texas) made a three-point shot followed by a layup to give the Mids a 56-35 lead with 10:32 showing on the clock. The Mids would lead by at least 20 points over the rest of the game, with their largest lead being 32 points at 73-41.
Navy shot 47.5 percent from the field, including a 39.1-percent (9-23) showing from three-point range. Defensively, the Mids held Colgate to 30.6-percent shooting from the floor and a 26.1-percent (6-23) effort from beyond the arc.
The Mids dominated the glass in the game, snaring 51 rebounds and giving up just 29 boards. This included a 14-8 advantage on the offensive boards.
Both Membreno and Geif notched double-doubles in the game. Membreno made 7 of 11 shots from the field (2-4 from three-point range) in scoring 18 points and grabbing 10 boards , while Geif was 6 of 9 from the floor on her way to scoring 15 points to go along with 10 caroms. Membreno also dished out four assists.
Also reaching double figures in points was Pollinger, who was 6 of 11 from the floor to score 15 points while handing out five assists, while Bauer finished the game with nine points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals.
"I think it was one of those games where with the ball in Kara's and Alix's hands," said Pemper, "the team just had a lot of confidence. We had an idea of where we could be successful and it was just a matter of executing and making shots."
Colgate was led in scoring by Carole Harris with 17 points and by Mariah Jones with 16.
The win gives Navy an overall record of 20-5 this season, which marks the third 20-win posted campaign by the Mids in the last four years and just the fifth 20-win season in school history. Navy also remains alone in first place in the Patriot League standings with a 12-2 mark in league games. The Mids hold a one-game lead over American and a 1.5 game cushion over Army.
The loss dropped Colgate's overall record this year to 5-20 and its league mark to 1-13.
Navy will close out its slate of regular season home games next week with contests Wednesday against Lehigh and Saturday against Holy Cross.