March 2, 2013
LEWISBURG, Pa. - Bucknell snapped an eight-game losing streak by outscoring the Navy women's basketball team 32-22 in the second half and defeating the Midshipmen, 55-48, in the regular season finale for both teams Saturday night at Sojka Pavilion in Lewisburg, Pa.
The loss by the Mids means Navy (11-3) shares the Patriot League regular season title with Army and allows the Black Knights to earn the No. 1 seed in the upcoming league tournament while dropping the Mids to the No. 2 seed. A win by Navy would have given the program its first outright league title in school history. Instead, the Mids share the league crown for the third time (1998, 2011).
"It is a grind, a 14-game schedule," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper. "The players deserve a ton of credit. We are very proud of being co-champions of the regular season."
Navy started the game by scoring 11 of the first 13 points of the night, but then Bucknell (5-9) ran off the ensuing 10 points to take a 12-11 lead. The lead changed hands a number of times over the rest of the half before the Mids went into the break holding a 26-23 lead.
The Bison quickly opened the second half on an 18-6 run to jump in front, 41-32. Navy sliced the margin down to four points at 48-44, but Bucknell scored the next five points to build a 53-44 lead with 6:14 left on the clock. Navy could pull no closer than the final margin of seven points over the rest of the game.
Bucknell connected on 42.3 percent of its field goal attempts in the game, which included a 50-percent mark in the first half. Navy had been allowing league foes to average 44.2 points a game and shoot just 31.9 percent from the field. Additionally, the most points the Mids had surrendered in a league game this season prior to this evening was 52.
While Bucknell was shooting the ball well, Navy struggled to an 8 of 33 (24.2%) night from behind the three-point line and made just 29.8 percent of all its shots from the floor.
Bucknell also held a 42-32 advantage on the glass in the game.
"I thought Bucknell's defense was great," said Pemper. "They helped off some people and we couldn't do a good job of finding them. I thought they did a nice job of paying a lot of attention to Jade. I know we took 33 three pointers; I think we were a little tentative at time. I think where you see that is not in the quantity of threes but in the percentage. Even their offense, I thought had a huge factor in the game. They made us play defense for a lot of the clock. Because of what they were doing offensively, we played a lot of the same people and they were working hard. We didn't get transition going the whole game; again credit their offense."
Alix Membreno (Jr., Loxahatchee, Fla.) paced Navy's offense as she scored 18 points on 7 of 15 shooting from the floor, a 2 of 6 effort from three-point range and by making both of her free throw attempts. She also snared a Navy-best eight rebounds and dished out a team-high four assists.
Bucknell held Jade Geif (Jr., Lakeville, Minn.) to just four shots in the game and a total of five points. Offensively for the Bison, Audrey Dotson scored 17 points, Felicia Mgbada tallied 13 points and Lindsay Horbatuck accrued 11 points and 16 rebounds.
"Bucknell shot the ball well," said Pemper. "They had some kids knock down some three pointers that were big shots for them. We had some silly fouls at bad times. It is not as if we had a ton of fouls (16) or they went to the line a lot (8). We had talked about it a lot but didn't do a good job of it, staying away from those silly fouls, like late in the shot clock. We don't get them off the offensive end and they get a new clock. There was a point in the game we were thought they were getting too many rebounds and loose balls. We didn't play as good of defense as we normally play."
Navy will open the Patriot League Tournament Thursday by playing host to Lafayette in a 7 p.m. game in Alumni Hall.
T1. 11-3 Army
T1. 11-3 Navy
T3. 8-6 American
T3. 8-6 Holy Cross
5. 6-8 Lehigh
6. 5-9 Bucknell
7. 4-10 Lafayette
8. 3-11 Colgate
Patriot League Tournament Quarterfinal Pairings
All games Thursday, March 7 at higher-seeded team
#7 Lafayette at #2 Navy
#6 Bucknell at #3 American
#8 Colgate at #1 Army
#5 Lehigh at #4 Holy Cross