Defense Sparks Offense in Women’s Basketball Win
ANNAPOLIS, Md. –– An opportunistic Navy women’s basketball team used its defense to generate offense and separate itself from Norfolk State in a 70-51 victory by the Mids (3-0) over the Spartans (1-1) Friday night at Alumni Hall.
“I liked our focus,” said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper. “I thought Norfolk State is really talented and we came away with a big win. I’m really happy. Just a great team effort by looking at the numbers.”
Navy scored the opening five points of the game but soon found itself trailing 19-14 with one minute remaining in the first quarter. The Mids would score the final four points of the opening frame and carry that momentum over into the second quarter. Navy began quarter number two on a 15-2 run (19-2 going back to the end of the first quarter) to build a 33-21 advantage. The teams would exchange three-point field goals in the final 30 seconds of the stanza, which sent the players into the locker rooms with Navy holding a 36-24 lead.
“I think we came out at the start of the second quarter with a lot of energy,” said Hannah Fenske (Sr., Albuquerque, N.M.), who made four three-point field goals in the first half, including a triple to kickstart the big run at the end of the first quarter. “We just came out ready to go. I think we saw we had a tough first quarter and we needed to pick things up.”
Navy forced Norfolk State into 16 first-half turnovers while committing just four of its own. The Mids would hold a 17-0 edge in points scored after turnovers through 20 minutes of play.
The Navy lead would hover between 10 and 18 points in the third quarter, which ended with the Mids in front 57-39, before stretching the lead out to as many as 20 points in the final 10 minutes of the game.
Both teams shot roughly 36 percent from the floor, but the Mids were 26-71 from the field including an 8-27 effort from three-point range while the Spartans were 20-57 overall and just 3-18 beyond the arc. Aiding the Mids to their additional shot attempts was their forcing 20 turnovers and committing 11 turnovers of their own. Navy held a 19-4 advantage for the game in points scored after turnovers.
“We do care of the ball,” said Pemper. “Our seniors do lead by example there.
“We were concerned with their ability to speed us up with their defense.”
“I think we were flying around on defense,” said Fenske. “We brought a lot of intensity.”
Fenske tied a career high with five three-point field goals to score a game-high 15 points for the Mids.
Morgan Taylor (So., Evans, Ga.) scored 11 points for Navy, Kaila Clark (So., Hughesville, Md.) contributed 10 rebounds, eight points, three assists, two steals and two blocks, and Taylor Dunham (Sr., Fort Belvoir, Va.) added eight points, a career-best seven assists and just one turnover.
“Taylor has been great at that (assist-to-turnover ratio) the last couple of years,” said Pemper. “Her ratio has been great. She handles pressure well. She is just a good basketball player.”
In all, Navy’s bench outscored the reserves for Norfolk State 27-16. All but one of the 10 Mids who took to the court scored.
Navy will continue its homestand Wednesday when the Mids play host to Air Force at 5 p.m. in Alumni Hall.