Women’s Basketball Wins Home Opener
ANNAPOLIS, Md. –– A strong second quarter gave the Navy women’s basketball team a double-digit lead over Rider it would not relinquish in an eventual 63-44 victory by the Mids (2-0) over the Broncs (0-2) Sunday evening at Alumni Hall in Annapolis. The game served as the home opener for Navy, which the Mids won for the sixth year in a row.
“We’re just really happy with how we came out with getting back from Poughkeepsie, N.Y. (where the Mids defeated Marist Friday night) at three in the morning Saturday, we had a bunch of recruits in town and were out kind of late last night, then a tough walk through,” said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper. “Just proud of how our women came out, our starting five especially. And then that whole first half everyone who played.”
Navy broke a tied score midway through the first quarter with an 8-0 run before taking a 19-13 advantage through the first 10 minutes of the game. The Mids broke the game open in the second quarter as they took leads of 25-13 and 33-15 before taking a 41-20 at halftime.
Navy was 7-15 (46.7%) from the floor and 7-10 (70%) from the foul line in the stanza. The Mids limited the Broncs to 3-15 (20%) shooting in the same frame and did not send the visitors to the foul line. Additionally, Navy forced seven turnovers while committing three turnovers of its own and held a 12-9 edge on the glass in the quarter.
Seven different Mids scored in the second quarter with Sophie Gatzounas (Fr., South Hadley, Mass.) leading the team with six points on 3-4 shooting from the floor.
Navy maintained a lead of at least 17 points in the third quarter and 14 points in the fourth quarter.
Navy ended the game shooting 36.5 percent (23-63) from the field, which included a 6-26 (23.1%) effort from three-point land, and was 11-16 (68.8%) from the foul line. The Mids held Rider to 27.9 percent shooting (17-61) from the floor and a 3-14 (21.4%) showing from three-point land. Rider finished with a 7-11 (63.6%) night from the free throw line.
“I think we were a little fortunate in that Rider didn’t shoot the ball very well tonight,” said Pemper. “I think we took advantage.
“I thought we had a pretty good scout on them, and Bianca Roach (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.) did a nice job on their leading scorer, Stella Johnson (0 points in 16 minutes). She (Johnson) may have gotten hurt as she didn’t play much in the second half. But I was happy with our defensive execution.”
Navy also held a 50-37 edge over Rider in rebounding.
Gatzounas notched a double-double of 20 points and 11 rebounds in 24 minutes of playing time. She was 9-13 (69.2%) from the field and made 2-3 (66.7%) three-point attempts.
“It was incredible to see Sophie play that way,” said Pemper. “We have three women who could start in that kind of fifth spot, and she got the nod. She didn’t play a lot Friday night; one of the other women came in and had a great game. She was coming off a first game not doing well, and then to come in here right off the bat … five offensive rebounds is really special for a gal like that.”
Joining her in double figure scoring were seniors Taylor Dunham (Fort Belvoir, Va.) with 13 points and Hannah Fenske (Albuquerque, N.M.) with 10. Fenske also snared eight rebounds, while Kaila Clark (So., Hughesville, Md.) matched the effort of Gatzounas with 11 boards of her own.
In all, 11 Mids played and 10 played at least 11 minutes.
Navy will be back in Alumni Hall Friday when it plays host to Norfolk State.