Feb. 26, 2014
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- American forced the Navy women's basketball team into 19 turnovers and shot 50 percent from the field in the second half to defeat the Mids, 63-50, Wednesday night at Bender Arena in Washington, D.C.
"I thought American's defense was really tough; 19 turnovers is not something we do very often," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper. "We really couldn't get things going offensively. Defensively, we got stuck in bad matchups."
Neither Navy nor American found much success on offense in the early part of the game, with the score being tied four times and lead changing hands four times in the first half. The Eagles slowly edged their way out to a 27-19 lead late in the first half before back-to-back three-point field goals by the Mids made it a two-point game. A late bucket by American would give it a 29-25 advantage at the break.
The Mids sliced the margin down to one point on their opening possession of the second half as Chloe Stapleton (Jr., Cary, N.C.) drained a three-point shot. An American missed shot gave the Mids the chance to take the lead, but a steal and layup by the Eagles quickly ended that opportunity.
The margin went back and forth between two and four points for the next four minutes before a 6-0 run by American gave it a 43-35 lead with 13:19 left to play. The teams traded three-point field goals (46-38) before American slowly extended its lead out to 12 points at 55-43 with 5:48 left to play. The Eagles would hold a lead of at least 10 points over the remainder of the game.
Navy shot a healthy 42.9 percent from the floor in the second half, but the Mids made just nine second half field goals to 13 for the Eagles. For the game, American outshot Navy, 45.5%-40.0%. And while Navy was tying its season high with 19 turnovers -- with 12 of them coming off of American steals -- the Mids forced the Eagles into just eight turnovers.
The specialty scoring numbers were especially telling: American held leads over Navy in points in the paint (26-10), points off turnovers (20-7), second chance points (7-4) and fast break points (8-0).
"They definitely scored inside very effectively; 26 points in the paint, officially, of their 63," said Pemper. "We just couldn't stop them when we needed a stop. We scored a couple of baskets in a row a few times, but we never went on a run. I just credit American's effort."
No Mid scored in double figures on the night. Audrey Bauer (Sr., Lake Zurich, Ill.) scored nine points, while Jade Geif (Sr., Lakeville, Minn.) and Kara Pollinger (Sr., Fort Gay, W.Va.) each scored eight. Geif did notch the 1,000th rebound of her career in the game. She is the first Mid and sixth Patriot League women's basketball player to have totaled 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds. Navy men's players David Robinson and Vernon Butler also are 1,000-1,000 players.
Leading all players in the game was American's Arron Zimmerman, who made 8 of 12 shots from the floor to score 20 points.
The loss drops Navy's Patriot League record to 14-3 while the win improves American's mark to 13-4. The Mids, who could have clinched the outright title in the league with a win tonight, still hold a one-game lead over both the Eagles and Army with one game remaining in the regular season. Saturday's slate of games has Navy playing at Loyola, American playing at Bucknell and Army playing at Lafayette.
A win by the Mids over the Greyhounds would still give them the outright title in the league. Navy also would still earn the No. 1 seed in the Patriot League Tournament should the Mids end the season tied with American. However, Navy would be the No. 2 seed if either the Mids are tied with Army or if there is a three-way tie between Navy, American and Army.