Nov. 17, 2013
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- A late 10-1 run provided just enough of a cushion for Iona to hang on for a 64-61 victory over the Navy women's basketball team Sunday afternoon at Alumni Hall in Annapolis.
"Tough loss," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper. "We started off our year last year with a loss to them, and knew them pretty well. We really wanted the game. Obviously they are not part of our league, but we knew they were one of the better teams on our schedule."
Navy (2-1) trailed Iona (3-2) by 10 points at the halftime break, 31-21, due to the Gaels closing the half on a 23-5 run. The Mids made just 19.5 percent of their shots from the field over the first 20 minutes of play, which included 5-of-19 (26.3%) shooting from three-point land and a 3-of-22 (13.6%) effort in their two-point attempts. Conversely, Iona was 5 of 19 (55.6%) from three-point range and 13-of-33 (39.4%) overall from the floor.
The Gaels held leads of 35-28 (17:47) and 43-36 (14:34) early in the second half before Navy whittled the margin down to two points at 43-41 with just over 12 minutes remaining in the game. The lead for the Gaels quickly went back to seven points at 48-41 (9:02), but a three-point shot by Kara Pollinger (Sr., Fort Gay, W.Va.) tied the game at 50-50 with 5:35 left to play. After a pair of free throws by Iona broke the tie, Audrey Bauer (Sr., Lake Zurich, Ill.) hit a jumper to tie the game again. Bauer would connect on another jumper roughly 100 seconds later to give Navy a 54-52 lead with 3:30 showing on the clock.
It took all of 24 seconds for the Gaels to tie the game again on a jumper from Sabrina Jeridore then, after a Bauer miss on the other end of the floor, Joy Adams scored on a layup to give Iona a 56-54 advantage with 2:29 left to play. Both teams missed a shot on their next respective possession, then Erin Meador (Jr., Clifton) was fouled for the Mids with 1:24 left to play. She missed the front end of the bonus, with Jeridore grabbing the carom. That would lead to Adams scoring again to boost the Gaels out to a 58-54 lead with one minute remaining in the game.
(Sr., Lakeville, Minn.) was fouled on Navy's next trip down the court, but she too missed the front end of the bonus free throw opportunity. Alix Membreno
(Sr., Loxahatchee, Fla.) grabbed the loose ball and gave it back to Geif who again was fouled. She would make the first throw to pull Navy to within 58-55 with 41 seconds remaining before missing the second. Membreno again scooped up the missed shot and this time she was fouled while in the act of shooting. However, she missed both attempts from the charity stripe and Iona grabbed the rebound with 39 seconds left to play.
Navy would foul Damike Martinez with 35.6 seconds left to play, and she made both attempts from the free throw line to give Iona a 60-55 advantage. A Chloe Stapleton (Jr., Cary, N.C.) missed three-point attempt was gathered in by Martinez and she again was both fouled and made both free throw attempts to make the score 62-55 with 22.7 seconds left.
The Mids rushed the ball down the court and Stapleton drilled a three-point shot with 14 seconds left to make it a four-point game. Navy quickly fouled Martinez and she again converted both foul shots with 10 seconds left to play. The Mids gave the ball to Stapleton again and she buried her sixth three-point field goal of the game with two seconds remaining on the clock. Iona inbounded the ball and ran off the remaining time to secure the victory.
"It would have been a great win," said Pemper. "Some things have to go right to beat Iona. We talked about how we had to score with them, and we didn't. If not for Chloe's late three's we would have been in the mid 50s, so we didn't score well. I feel like we lost some of a great defensive effort against Martinez. She was 5 for 22 and if we hadn't put her on the line late she would have had 12 or 14 points."
Navy shot much better in the second half. The Mids made 46.9 percent of their attempts after halftime, which included 7-of-14 (46.7%) shooting inside of the three-point line and an 8-of-17 (47.1%) effort from outside of the arc. The Mids also were much improved on defense as they limited the Gaels to a 1-of-5 (20.0%) showing in three-point shots after halftime and to 35.5 percent (11-31) shooting from the field overall in the second half. Navy did not attempt a free throw until just 5:50 remained in the second half, but in that time the Mids were just 2 of 8 (25.0%) from the charity stripe while Iona was 10 of 12 (83.3%) from the foul line for the game.
Navy finished the game with a 51-46 advantage on the glass, including a 21-12 lead in offensive caroms. Both teams took very good care of the basketball as Navy turned the ball over only seven times and Iona a total of five times. Each team ended the game with six blocked shots.
Stapleton tied a career high with her six three-point field goals made in the game. Her 18 points in the contest fell just two points shy of tying her career-best scoring output. Pollinger joined Stapleton in double figures with 10 points while also adding six assists. Geif struggled from the floor to a 3-of-14 (21.4%) shooting night, but grabbed 10 boards and dished out four assists. Additionally, Membreno finished the afternoon with eight points, five rebounds and four assists, while Bauer posted seven points, seven boards, two assists and two steals.
"We can definitely play better offensively," said Pemper. "Obviously the free throws didn't help.
"You saw just how many 14-footers Jade can get in our offense. Last year I don't think she got that many in a single game, but she hit them pretty well. We have lots of confidence that this will happen again and that she will take that next step, which is when she gets that many to really knock them down. That would make us really tough."
Adams paced all players in the game with both 22 points and 16 rebounds, while Martinez tallied 18 points and seven caroms.
Navy will play the first of three road games this week when it plays Tuesday night at Saint Peter's.