Nov. 17, 2012
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - The Navy women's basketball team shot over 40 percent from the floor in each half and held Saint Peter's to a mark of 34 percent for the game as the Midshipmen posted a 64-53 victory over the Peacocks Saturday night at Alumni Hall in Annapolis.
The win was the first of the year for the Mids (1-2), while the Peacocks remained winless through three outings.
"It's nice to get a win," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper. "We are very happy about that. We were concerned about their transition and athleticism and their being able to force us into turnovers. I think this is a good win. We had to do some specific things to fit that game plan."
"With having a week off after our first two games," said Kara Pollinger (Jr., Fort Gay, W.Va.), "we had a lot of time to think about what we needed to do differently. We took this week and focused on those things."
"Coming into this game," said Jade Geif (Jr., Lakeville, Minn.), "we focused on how we were working together as opposed to our fundamentals. We were not working together as five players on the court (last week). We looked at that in the locker room after our last game and brought it to practice."
It was a see-saw start to the game as the lead changed hands five times and the score was tied twice in the opening 12 minutes of play. Navy held an 18-17 lead when it erupted for 12-straight points to take a 30-17 advantage with 2:40 remaining before halftime.
Pollinger started the run for the Mids with a three-point field goal. A Saint Peter's turnover was followed by a triple from Peri Curtis (Fr., Coronado, Calif.). Alix Membreno (Jr., Loxahatchee, Fla.) stole the ball to end the ensuing possession for the Peacocks, and that led to Pollinger sinking 1 of 2 attempts from the foul line. A short while later, Membreno converted an old fashioned three-point play to boost the Navy lead out to 28-17. Geif followed with a field goal one minute later to give the Mids their 30-17 cushion, which became 32-22 at intermission.
Saint Peter's, which lost to Lehigh by the score of 62-60 just a few days ago, quickly whittled the margin down to seven points -- 32-25 -- less than one minute into the second half. The Peacocks held Navy scoreless on its next trip down the floor, but would miss a three-point field goal that was grabbed by Membreno. That led to Pollinger hitting a three-point attempt of her own to take the Navy lead back to 10 points at 35-25 with 18:07 remaining in the half.
The Navy lead hovered between 8 and 11 points for the next several minutes before a 7-0 run by the Mids gave them a 49-33 lead with less than 10 minutes left on the clock. Rebecca Richmond (Fr., Superior, Colo.) drilled a three-point field goal, then M.L. Morrison (Jr., Soutlake, Texas) scored on a layup. The 7-0 burst would close when Membreno scored on a layup off of an assist from Morrison.
Navy soon expanded its lead out to 17 points at 55-38, then held a 62-46 advantage with 2:22 remaining. Saint Peter's would end the game on a 7-2 run to slice the final margin down to 11 points.
Navy sank eight three-point field goals on 23 attempts (34.8%) -- after making just 10 treys in its first two games combined -- with four different Mids connecting on at least one triple. Pollinger led the way with four treys on her way to scoring 15 points to go along with five assists. While Pollinger keyed Navy's outside shooting, Geif took care of the inside as she converted on 7 of 9 second half field goal attempts to give her a game-high 17 points on the night. She entered the game having scored a total of 13 points in Navy's opening two games.
Membreno made only 4 of 11 field goal attempts to score nine points, but still contributed with a strong defensive effort and with nine rebounds, four assists and three steals. Her work on the boards helped to boost the Mids to a 39-32 advantage over the Peacocks on the glass. Aiding in that effort were seven caroms from Erin Meador (So., Clifton, Va.), six from Pollinger and five from both Geif and Audrey Bauer (Jr., Lake Zurich, Ill.).
"Those defensive rebounds never let Saint Peter's get out into transition," said Pemper. "They like to push the ball."
Neither team took great care of the ball. Navy forced Saint Peter's into 20 turnovers, while the Peacocks, who forced Lehigh into 27 turnovers, caused 18 turnovers by the Mids. Navy was more productive after turnovers, however, scoring 19 points after Saint Peter's miscues and holding the Peacocks to just 13 points after turnovers by the Mids.
Navy once again struggled from the foul line as it made just 10 of 19 attempts from the charity stripe. Conversely, Saint Peter's was 11 of 13 from the free throw line.
Kristal Edwards scored 13 points to lead the Saint Peter's offense.
Navy will be back in Alumni Hall Tuesday night when it plays host to Loyola in a 7 p.m. game.