ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Jade Geif (Jr., Lakeville, Minn.) scored the 1,000th point of her career and tied a single-game career high with 22 points to help lead the Navy women's basketball team to a 63-48 victory over Colgate, Saturday night at Alumni Hall in Annapolis.
The victory allows Navy to maintain its one-game lead in the Patriot League standings. With just two games remaining in the regular season, the Mids lead the league with a 10-2 record while Army, which holds the tiebreaker over Navy, is in second place with a 9-3 record.
The loss dropped Colgate's record to 2-10 in Patriot League play.
"We knew it would be a tough game," said Geif. "It doesn't matter about the record you bring into a game. Colgate proved it with beating Army Wednesday."
"It was a good team effort," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper. "We had to deal with a run; we went zone when who we feel is their best three-point shooter goes out, so they hit a three and a two and score on every possession, so we had to overcome that. And we didn't shoot the three pointers well, so we had to overcome that."
Geif entered the game with 997 points in her 90-game career, and quickly became the 16th player in Navy history to tally 1,000 points as she scored the first four points of the game for the Mids. She would soon add two more field goals to bring her total on the night to eight points during Navy's game-opening 11-4 run.
Colgate winnowed the margin down to three points at 13-10 when Alix Membreno (Jr., Loxahatchee, Fla.) scored on a layup and foul shot to give Navy a little breathing room. The margin was then four points at 19-15 when Geif scored on a jumper on one possession, Chloe Stapleton (So., Cary, N.C.) drilled a three-point shot on the next possession and Kara Pollinger (Jr., Fort Gay, W.Va.) scored on a layup on the ensuing trip down the court. Her field goal gave Navy a 26-15 edge with 8:07 left in the half.
Mariah Jones drilled a trio of three-point shots to help Colgate slice the deficit down to three points once again at 29-26 with just over five minutes left before halftime. Both teams came away without points on either of their next two respective possessions, then Membreno hit back-to-back jumpers to give the Mids a 33-26 lead. Geif would add one more field goal before the break -- her 13th and 14th points of the half -- to send Navy into the locker room with a 35-26 advantage.
While Geif made her presence felt at the start of the first half, Pollinger led the Mids in the early part of the second half. Geif opened the scoring in the second half with another layup, then Pollinger connected on a three-point shot and, a short while later, a reverse layup to give Navy a 42-30 lead. She soon added another triple to make the score 48-32 in favor of the Mids with 14:28 showing on the clock.
The lead was once again 16 points when Colgate made a run at the Mids. The Raiders were able to cut the margin in half and pulled to within 52-44 of Navy with 7:43 showing on the clock. Navy responded by sending the ball inside to Geif, who scored on another jumper to end the run by the Raiders. Neither team scored for almost two minutes, but Stapleton drilled a three-point shot which was followed by Geif tallying two more points on another shot from in the paint to stretch the Navy lead out to 59-44 with 4:17 left to play.
Navy shot 44.1 percent from the field and made seven three-point field goals on 29 attempts (24.1%) in the game. The Mids limited the Raiders to 35.1 percent shooting for the game, which included a 31.3 percent effort in the second half. Navy also held a slim 39-33 edge over Colgate on the glass, with the Mids turning the ball over 12 times and forcing the Raiders into 14 turnovers.
"We had a good scouting report and we switched a lot off the `four' so we had M.L. Morrison (Jr., Southlake, Texas) and Audrey Bauer (Jr., Lake Zurich, Ill.) having to guard guards," said Pemper. "I was really pleased with the effort they gave."
Geif converted 10 of 14 field goal attempts and made both of her attempts from the foul line to tie the career high she set in the championship game of the 2012 Patriot League Tournament. She also added nine rebounds, which left her one carom shy of a double-double for the fifth time during the 12-game league season. Geif also added three steals, two assists and two blocked shots.
"We juniors emphasized with the team in a meeting we had about how hard it is to stay on top than it is to get to the top," said Geif, "and how important it is in every practice, in every game, to be focused and play with your heart and play super hard. We have to do that every single game to get back to the tournament."
"Jade made a basket in the game that I said to our staff after she made it, that I hadn't seen her make a basket quite like that," said Pemper. "We kind of needed a basket, and there was just an opening not in the defense at all, but she just drove right shot a little fadeaway and hit it. To see her to have that comfort and confidence to score when we needed it was truly nice. She was terrific. Her defense was so good. I thought she put on a clinic on defense and on offense."
Pollinger also had an all-around strong effort. She made a trio of three-point shots, scored 17 points, dished out six assists, grabbed five rebounds and swiped two steals.
"Kara was great tonight," said Pemper. "To look at her points, rebounds, assists and steals, and she had just three turnovers, which is a lot for her but she did have the six assists. She is so important, and to have her with that bounce in her step and hit some shots, I'm so happy with how she played."
Jones led Colgate with 14 points, but she was held to just two points in the second half.
Navy will close the home portion of its regular season Wednesday when the Mids play host to Lehigh.
Patriot League Standings (2 games left)
7-5 Holy Cross