Navy Women's Basketball Hangs On for Opening Night Win
Nov. 8, 2013
TOWSON, Md. - Audrey Bauer (Sr., Lake Zurich, Ill.) scored 13 of her career-high tying 18 points in the second half, including a basket with one minute left on the clock, to provide the Navy women's basketball team with just enough of a cushion to hang on for a 56-55 victory over Towson Friday night at SECU Arena in Towson, Md. The game served as the opener for both teams and as the inaugural basketball game in the new facility.
"I think it was a game where our kids showed mental stamina," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper. "The game was longer than they typically are. With the new officiating rules there were more fouls called and it was hard to have pace for us with the foul trouble we were in. That's very different for us. I think we just hung together and played both smart and disciplined."
Navy trailed Towson, 13-9, midway through the first half before a 12-0 run gave the Mids a 21-13 advantage with just under six minutes left on the clock before halftime. The Tigers would close to within one point of the Mids twice in the closing minutes, but a late Kara Pollinger (Sr., Fort Gay, W.Va.) three-point shot g ave Navy a 26-22 advantage at the break.
After making just 3 of 14 three-point attempts in the first half, Navy made a pair of triples in the first minute of play in the second half. Bauer hit a triple six seconds into the frame then, after a Towson jumper, Chloe Stapleton (Jr., Cary, N.C.) drilled another three pointer on Navy's next possession. A short while later a jumper from Pollinger gave the Mids their largest lead of the game at 34-25 just 90 seconds into the second half.
Towson cut the deficit down to two points at 36-34, but a triple by Bauer and a jumper from Stapleton pushed the Navy advantage out to 41-34. The Tigers answered with a 9-2 run that tied the game at 43-43 with 12:27 remaining on the clock. The Mids tallied the ensuing four points before Towson sliced the difference down to one point at 47-46. After the teams exchanged the next four baskets, Towson tied the score at 51-51 on a free throw by Nyree Williams with 4:20 left in the game.
Neither team scored the next time each had the ball, then Bauer connected on her fourth three-point shot of the game to give the Mids a 54-51 lead with 3:20 to go. Towson would cut the margin down to two points on a free throw by Tanisha McTiller with 2:05 left to play. A Pollinger missed three pointer was followed by Alix Membreno (Sr., Loxahatchee, Fla.) picking off a Towson pass to give the ball back to the Mids. Bauer would hit a short jumper to take the Navy lead out to 56-52 with 1:02 showing on the clock.
Towson promptly cut the lead in half on a jumper by Dominique Johnson with 49 seconds left on the clock. Pollinger misfired on a three-point attempt with 29 seconds left, but Bauer snared the rebound and was quickly fouled with 24 seconds remaining. She would miss the front end of the bonus, however, with the Tigers grabbing the carom. The next Towson possession saw McTiller missed a short jumper, which was rebounded by teammate Markell Smith. Smith went right back up with an attempt that missed, with McTiller grabbing her miss and trying a shot of her own. McTiller missed, but she was fouled while in the act of shooting with 7.6 seconds left in the game.
McTiller made the first attempt to make it a one-point game and lead to a Navy 60-second timeout. When play resumed, McTiller's second attempt bounced off the left side of the rim. Players from both teams chased after it before it went out of bounds after last touching a Towson player with 6.8 seconds remaining. Navy inbounded the ball and successfully ran the clock down to 1.2 seconds before Pollinger was fouled. Her first attempt from the free throw line was off and rebounded by the Tigers, but they were unable to advance the ball before the clock ran out.
Both teams made 22 field goals in the game, with Navy making seven triples (on 27 attempts) and Towson sinking four shots from lone range (on 10 attempts). The Mids held a 40.7%-34.9% advantage in field goal percentage for the game, including a 52.0%-43.3% lead in the second half.
"I think we couldn't get into a rhythm because we missed good shots," said Pemper. "We shot horribly in the first half (9-29 from the floor) but much better after halftime.
Both teams struggled with the new points of emphasis by the referees. Navy ranked among the NCAA leaders for the fewest fouls called on the MIds per game with an average of less than 13 fouls called on them in each of the last three years. However, Navy was called for 20 fouls tonight while Towson was whistled for 18 fouls. Those whistles led to the Mids attempting eight free throws and the Tigers 19. Despite the disparity in attempts, each team made just seven shots from the line.
Towson held a 47-34 advantage on the glass, including a 21-11 edge in the second half. The Tigers also snared 28 offensive rebounds, but that led to just 13 second-chance points.
Bauer was 7 of 15 from the floor and 4 of 8 from three-point land to score 18 points for the fifth time in her career.
"I'm just excited we could come out of here with a win," said Bauer when asked about her performance.
Pollinger joined her in double figures with 12 points, while Jade Geif (Sr., Lakeville, Minn.) tallied nine points and nine rebounds despite playing 26 minutes, the last 10 minutes of the game with four fouls.
McTiller led all players in the game with 21 points and 15 rebounds.
"Towson is a very different team than we typically play in the Patriot League," said Pemper. "McTiller's athleticism is not something we see in the Patriot League. The zone they play is really different. We had to put in a new offense and be successful in different ways.
Navy will open the home portion of its season Sunday when the Mids play host to Stony Brook in a 2 p.m. game in Alumni Hall.