Women's Basketball Defeats Colonials to Make History
WASHINGTON, D.C. ---- History was made by the Navy women's basketball team Friday night as the Mids rallied from a 10-point fourth-quarter deficit to defeat George Washington, 61-51 in overtime, at the Charles E. Smith Center in Washington, D.C. The victory in the first round of the WNIT was the first post-season tournament win in Navy (24-9) history as well as only the second by a Patriot League team in the 20-year old event.
Navy, which also tied the school record with its 24th victory on the year, now advances to the second round of the WNIT where it will face Virginia Tech Sunday at 2 p.m. in Blacksburg, Va.
George Washington, which was playing in the post season for the fourth year in a row and shared the regular season title in the Atlantic 10 Conference this year, has its season come to an end with a record of 20-10.
"It is so neat anytime you can do something that is history making," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper. "It is just so special. Such a cool reflection on that team, that year for those women who make up that team.
"I thought we fought really hard and just never lost our confidence. People came in and were huge in the fourth quarter. Sarita Condie (Sr., Lovelock, Nev.) was so confident the whole game."
"It is really awesome," said Condie on the win. "The loss on Sunday (a 79-71 overtime loss to Bucknell in the championship game of the Patriot League Tournament) was obviously really hard, but I thought our team did a good job of reframing our situation. That mentality of everything happens for a reason, and that reason is we want to be the (Navy) first team to win a post-season game. I think we brought that mentality tonight. It was kind of unique to go into overtime again, the first game after our overtime loss, and I think that experience helped us as well."
Navy had another great start to the game as it scored on its opening three possessions to take a 7-3 lead on its way to holding a 14-10 advantage at the end of the first quarter. The Mids held the lead until there was one minute left in the first half, but went into the break down by just one point at 21-20 thanks to a three-point basket by Condie with 10 seconds still on the clock.
Navy averages 13 turnovers a game this season but committed 12 turnovers in the first half tonight while forcing eight. That led to George Washington holding a 9-4 edge in points scored after turnovers. The Colonials also held a 15-1 lead in offensive rebounds, which allowed them to hold a 17-0 advantage in second chance points.
George Washington quickly extended its lead to five points early in the third quarter only to see first a layup and then a three-point basket by Condie tie game at 27-27. The Colonials would end the third quarter with a 35-31 lead and then scored the first four points of the fourth quarter to build a 39-31 advantage. That cushion eventually grew to 10 points at 44-34 with 6:34 left on the clock.
Taylor Dunham (Jr., Fort Belvoir, Va.), who did not score a point in the first half and ended the third quarter with two points, answered on the ensuing Navy possession with a three-point field goal to make the score 44-37. It became a five-point game ---- 46-41, 5:20 left ---- on two made free throws by Condie, then eventually a four-point game when Dunham drilled another triple with 3:52 remaining to make the score 48-44.
Navy forced a missed jumper on the next George Washington possession, then clawed even closer on a layup by Kaila Clark (Fr., Hughesville, Md.) off of a feed from Dunham. Both teams missed shots the next time each had the ball, then another miss by the Colonials was followed by a long two-point jumper by Ashanti Kennedy (Sr., Virginia Beach, Va.) ---- with an assist going to Dunham ---- that tied the game at 48-48 with 101 seconds still to play.
"Ashanti has hit some big shots all year (including a three-point shot with 7.5 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter Sunday at Bucknell that tied the game and forced overtime)," said Dunham. "I remember in the game today I was driving to the basket and I heard her screaming my name. I just know if she is screaming my name she is going to be open so I just shot it out to her and she hit the shot. She was bold and had confidence she would hit the shot, and we all did too."
Defenses dominated the remainder of regulation as the Colonials missed two shots and then the Mids missed one that gave the ball back to George Washington with 34 seconds remaining. After a timeout to advance the ball over halfcourt, the Mids stymied the Colonials again and forced a missed shot that was gathered in by Dunham with 4.3 seconds still to play. This time Navy called timeout to advance the ball over halfcourt, and the inbounds pass went to Condie at the top of the key. She turned and drove down the left side of the lane before being called for a charging foul with 1.5 seconds left.
George Washington called its last timeout to advance the ball again, but was unable to get a shot off before time ran out.
The Colonials won the tip to start overtime, but missed a pair of shots and the 5-4 Dunham snared the second carom then scored 13 seconds later on a drive to the hoop. Navy held a 51-49 lead until a triple by Kennedy expanded the margin out to 54-49, then a layup by Hannah Fenske (Jr., Albuquerque, N.M.) made the score 56-50 in favor of the Mids with just under two minutes left on the clock.
Navy proceeded to sink 5-6 foul shots over the remainder of the game to seal the historic victory.
"We talked about being bold before the game," said Condie, "especially if a play was run for you, to be determined and confident and I think we got that from everyone who stepped up on the court."
The Mids were 3-4 from the field ---- 1-1 from three-point land ---- and 6-8 from the foul line during the overtime period. Conversely, George Washington was 0-12 from the floor ---- 0-6 from three-point range ---- and just 3-6 from the free throw line during the extra five minutes of the game.
Navy ended the game sinking 40.7 percent of its shots from the floor, including an 8-26 (30.8%) effort from three-point land, and made 9-12 (75%) foul shots. On the other end of the floor, George Washington shot 24.4 percent from the field, was 4-18 (22.2%) from three-point range and just 5-11 (45.5%) from the charity stripe.
The Mids committed just four second-half turnovers while forcing five. The Colonials held a 56-46 edged in rebounding on the entire night, including a 28-5 advantage on the offensive glass.
"We had to battle with the rebounding," said Pemper. "But I don't think it got us demoralized. They took so many more shots than we did (86-54)."
Dunham tallied seven overtime points and 15 points in the game, and just missed recording the first double-double of her career with a career-high nine rebounds.
"I'm just so happy for our team," said Dunham. "It was a really fun game, the whole time. We fought really hard. At the end we pulled it out because we believed the whole time. That's been a trend for us the whole season."
Condie also fell one carom short of her first double-double as she finished with 17 points and also a career-best nine boards. Fenske added nine points, seven rebounds, four assists and one turnover, while Kennedy tallied nine points and four boards, with Clark contributing eight points, five rebounds and four blocked shots.
Caira Washington led George Washington with 13 points and 13 rebounds.
Navy previously competed in the 2011, '12 and '13 NCAA Tournaments before advancing to the 2014 WNIT.