Condie Drains Triple to Beat Army, Advance Navy to Title Game
March 11, 2017
LEWISBURG, Pa. ---- Sarita Condie (Sr., Lovelock, Nev.) capped a five-for-five shooting night from three-point range with a triple with just 0.5 seconds left on the clock to help give the Navy women's basketball team a dramatic 54-53 victory over Army West Point Friday night at Sojka Pavilion in Lewisburg, Pa. The victory in the semifinal round of the Patriot League Tournament advances the Mids to Sunday's title game where they will face top-seeded Bucknell.
That game will tip at 11 a.m. and be aired on the CBS Sports Network. The winner of the game will go to the NCAA Tournament while the loser will receive the league's automatic berth into the WNIT.
"It feels awesome," said Condie on getting to the championship game. "I am really excited I can play one more game with this team. That's as important to me as just getting to the championship game."
"I just think so much about our players," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper. "Everything we do is to try and prepare them, try and get them to play well. So much is about them, so I am thrilled for them."
The win also gives second-seeded Navy (23-8) a 3-0 sweep of third-seeded Army (22-9) this season. The Mids previously defeated the Black Knights three times during the 1996 and 1997 seasons, while Army swept Navy 3-0 in 1992.
Navy jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the game's opening minutes and held a lead between three and 12 points over the remainder of the first half before taking a 35-26 lead at halftime. Condie accounted for 18 first-half points on 7-11 shooting from the floor that included her sinking each of her trio of three-point attempts. Navy as a team was 6-9 from three-point land in the first half and connected on 45.2 percent of its shots in the opening 20 minutes. The Mids held the Black Knights to nine made field goals ---- one a three-pointer ---- and seven made free throws in the first half.
Hannah Fenske (Jr., Albuquerque, N.M.) opened the third quarter with a three-point basket to again boost the lead out to 12 points at 38-26. The Black Knight promptly went on an 11-2 run and closed to within 40-37 with just over two minutes left in the frame. Navy accounted for the lone basket in the remainder of the quarter to give Navy a 42-37 lead at its end.
Army made just one more field goals than Navy did in the third quarter ---- 4-3 ---- but the Black Knights added a trio of free throws to help cut into the margin.
Navy was able to push its lead out to seven points at both 44-37 and 46-39 early in the final stanza, but Army whittled the margin away and took its first lead of the game when a three-point field goal by Destinee Morris gave the Black Knights a 49-48 advantage with three minutes left on the clock.
That lead lasted all of one Navy possession as Condie drilled her fourth triple of the game to make the score 51-49 in favor of the Mids with 2:27 still to play.
Army called timeout in its ensuing possession and the Black Knights were able to tie the score on a short jumper with two minutes remaining.
Fenske was fouled while starting a drive to the basket on Navy's next time down the court, but she missed both free throw attempts. Teammate Kaila Clark (Fr., Hughesville, Md.) grabbed the offensive board following her second miss. Condie would miss a short shot, but Justice Swett (Sr., Nashville, Tenn.), who left the game for over 10 minutes in the first quarter while getting five stitches in the head, grabbed Condie's miss. Navy's third attempt to score on the possession ended when Taylor Dunham (Jr., Fort Belvoir, Va.) missed a shot that was snared by Army with 1:19 showing.
Morris gave the Black Knights their second lead of the game when she hit a jumper with just over one minute left and the clock running.
Navy rushed the ball down the court but couldn't find an open look until Fenske tried a triple with 32 seconds left. She missed but Condie was there for the rebound. The Mids worked the ball around and through the court until Condie drove down the right side of the lane and dumped the ball down to Swett on the left baseline with 13 seconds left. Swett ran into a pair of Army defenders that forced her to miss the shot. The ball bounced along the baseline toward the sideline. Swett and an Army player both went after the ball, with the Army player batting it back toward Condie who had followed the play. She grabbed the ball with eight seconds left and tossed it to Fenske who was along the sideline and above the free throw line. Fenske tried to pass the ball back to Condie, but that attempt was batted back toward her by an Army player. The ball went back into Fenske's hands and in one motion she touched and flipped it to Condie who was still toward the left corner. Condie caught the ball, squared up and fired a shot with three seconds left. Her try hit nothing but net with 0.5 seconds showing on the clock.
"I don't remember much of that sequence," said Condie. "But what I do remember is after Justice missed the shot and we got the ball back I glanced up at the clock and there was less time left than I thought. I think when we got it initially it was close to 50 seconds. But then we had taken quite a few shots and there was about 10 or 15 seconds left. I was kind of like, `oh, this is getting really close.' I just got it and shot it."
"We were just so stymied offensively (in the second half), and then obviously Army made some big shots to take the lead," said Pemper. "But then we got a couple to go ahead and then Sarita made a great, great shot.
"We've had a small team all year and a lot of people who handle the ball. Some kids who can shoot for sure; obviously scrappy and with good hands. I was so tempted to call timeout (on the last possession) when it went to Hannah. I wasn't sure if anything good was going to happen over there. I was tempted, but I didn't love the idea of setting up a play with the way they had been defending our stuff. I just didn't love that idea and thought let's just roll with it."
The officials stopped the game to verify the time ---- the clock initially ran down to 0.1 seconds left before reset to 0.5 seconds ---- and then Army called a pair of timeouts, which allowed the Black Knights to inbound in front of its own bench.
Navy did a great job defending several Army options on the inbounds play, including a double team of players in the lane. The pass eventually went into the lane, but it was high to the point of players only being able to touch it as opposed to getting a handle on it before the clock ran out.
The two teams took differing paths toward their respective point totals. Navy was 22-57 (36.8%) from the field in the game, including 9-18 (50%) from three-point land, and made just 1-4 (25%) free throw attempts. Conversely, Army was 20-58 (34.5%0 from the floor, including 3-10 (30%) from three-point range, and 10-14 (71.4%) from the charity stripe.
Army held a 43-34 edge on the glass, including a 17-11 advantage in offensive rebounds. However, the Black Knights totaled just an 11-9 lead in second chance points. Most of the remaining statistics between the teams were comparable to one another.
Condie was 10-15 from the field, which included her 5-5 effort from beyond the arc, and made one of her two free throw attempts for a career-high 26 points (previous high was 22).
Condie was joined in double figures by Fenske, who totaled 11 points ---- 3-4 from three-point range ---- three rebounds, three assists and four steals. Swett, who was limited to 27 minutes of playing time, tallied four blocks, while Clark just missed a double-double with 11 rebounds and eight points.
Army had four players score in double figures, with both Madison Hovren ---- 11 points, 10 rebounds ---- and Aliyah Murray ---- 10 points, 13 rebounds ---- recording double-doubles.
"Just really impressed with Army and the season they have had," said Pemper. "Four players in double figures and just fighting to find a way to win."
Navy advanced to the program's sixth Patriot League title game ---- the second-most appearances in league history ---- and the first since winning the program's third championship in a row in 2013 (lost in 1998 and 1999). The Mids have posted a 2-3 record in title game.
Bucknell advanced to the program's fourth championship game and first since 2008. The Bison have won titles in 2002 and 2008 and lost the 2000 title tilt.
Navy and Bucknell will be meeting in the championship game for the first time. The Mids hold a 4-3 edge in tournament games over the Bison.