Nov. 23, 2012
HOUSTON, Texas - UC Davis held the Navy women's basketball team scoreless on 14 of its last 18 possessions of the game as the Aggies first rallied from a late 10-point deficit to force overtime and then survive a last-second, potential game-tying shot by the Midshipmen in the extra period for a 66-63 victory Friday night at Sharp Gym in Houston, Texas.
"We had some great opportunities down the stretch," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper. "It is hard because Davis runs a defensive system we never see. On offense, they run a system we never see that is hard to guard. So what is really hard is that we deserved to win this game as much as they did. Our team goes from making plays and putting ourselves into position to win, to losing."
Navy (2-3) used a 9-0 run to turn a one-point lead into a 56-46 advantage with 4:48 left to play in regulation. The final point of that run was tallied by Jade Geif (Jr., Lakeville, Minn.) on a free throw. She would miss her second attempt from the charity stripe, and that was immediately followed by a three-point field goal from Sydnee Fipps to make it a seven-point game. The teams traded turnovers, then Geif was again fouled on an inside move to the basket. She missed both free throw attempts, but her second errant shot was grabbed by teammate Alix Membreno (Jr., Loxahatchee, Fla.), who had it stolen from her nearly as quickly as she had controlled it.
Membreno snared a defensive rebound on the ensuing possession by the Aggies, but that was followed by a Navy turnover. Brianna Salvatore made one of two free throw attempts on the next UC Davis (1-2) possession, then another Navy turnover was followed by a layup by Fipps to make the score 56-52 with 2:22 left on the clock.
A Navy missed shot was followed by a UC Davis miss. Geif was fouled when controlling the rebound and went back to the other end of the court for a one-and-one free throw attempt. Her first attempt missed and it was grabbed by Blair Shinoda of UC Davis. That would lead to a layup by Celia Marfone to pull the Aggies to within two points of the Mids with 91 seconds left to play. The Mids sent the ball inside on their next trip down the floor, and Geif was again fouled while attempting a shot. Geif, who was 6 of 8 from the foul line in the first half, missed the first free throw before making the second. Less then 10 seconds after the Aggies inbounded the ball, Aniya Baker scored on a layup to make the score 57-56 in favor of Navy with less than one minute remaining in the game.
Navy again came away without a point on its next trip as Kara Pollinger
(Jr., Fort Gay, W.Va.) missed a jumper that was corralled by Fipps with 38 seconds left. The Aggies then called timeout with 28 seconds showing on the clock. The Navy defense held as Shinoda missed a shot and the ball went out of bounds after being touched by the Aggies with 17.1 seconds remaining. That led to a Navy timeout before the ball was inbounded. After the ball was passed in, Pollinger was fouled with 14 seconds left to play in regulation. She calmly walked to the other end of the court and sank both attempts to boost the Navy lead to 59-56.
The Aggies rushed the ball down the court and eventually put the ball into the hands of Cortney French, who had scored 18 first-half points on 6 of 7 shooting from the field, including a 4 of 5 effort in three-point shooting. French drilled a 20-foot jumper to tie the game at 59-59 with six seconds left to play and lead to a Navy timeout. After the teams returned to the court, the Mids quickly advanced the ball over halfcourt where Membreno had a twisting shot from the top of the key that hit the rim and bounced wide as the buzzer sounded.
Following Geif's free throw to give Navy its 10-point lead, the Mids were 0 of 2 from the field, 3 of 8 from the foul line and turned the ball over four times. Conversely, UC Davis was 5 of 8 from the floor and committed just one turnover.
The Aggies held a 63-59 lead two minutes into the extra period as UC Davis made a pair free throws on two of its first three possessions (missed shot on the remaining trip) while the Mids had a missed shot and a turnover on their first trip and a turnover on their second. Pollinger made a free throw on its third possession, then a missed shot by the Aggies was followed by a three-point field goal from Audrey Bauer (Jr., Lake Zurich, Ill.) to knot the score at 63-63 with 2:16 left to play.
Both teams came away empty on their next respective possession, then UC Davis took a one-point lead on a free throw. A Navy turnover, a UC Davis missed shot and a Navy turnover left the game clock with less than 30 seconds remaining on it. Forced to foul, the Mids sent Shinoda to the line with 24 seconds left to play. She would make both attempts to push the UC Davis lead to three points at 66-63. Navy would call timeout with 18 seconds remaining. The Mids moved the ball around outside the three-point line when, with time running out, it was in the hands of Pollinger. Her game-tying attempt from the right wing fell short to end the game.
UC Davis missed all five of its field goal attempts in the extra session, but made 7 of its 8 free throw attempts. Navy, meanwhile, was 1 of 4 from the floor and 1 of 2 from the foul line in the overtime period.
The Aggies had held a lead of as many as nine points -- 26-17 -- in the first half. Navy promptly went on a 13-2 run to take a 30-28 lead on a three-point field goal from M.L. Morrison (Jr., Southlake, Texas). The Mids would go into halftime holding a 35-31 lead, and would hold the lead until the three pointer by French that forced overtime.
"It just goes down to plays," said Pemper. "That, and our having 29 turnovers, our point guard not leading us as well as we need her to, in terms of taking care of the ball, and Jade missing free throws. It came down to three things: Kara turning the ball over, Jade missing free throws, and Erin Meador (So., tba) giving up a three-point shot to the best shooter in the gym. It is a frustrating loss."
Navy dominated the glass against the bigger and quicker Aggies, grabbing 48 rebounds in the game to 28 for UC Davis, but the Aggies forced the Mids into a total of 21 turnovers in the second half and overtime and 29 for the game. Conversely, the Mids were only able to force UC Davis into 17 turnovers over the 45 minutes.
UC Davis held slight advantages over Navy in all three shooting categories: 40.4%-37.3% from the field, 36.4%-33.3% from the three-point line, 70.6%-64.0% from the foul line. The Aggies would make 23 field goals to Navy's 19, which helped them to negate the slim 9-8 lead by the Mids in three-point field goals made and a 16-12 edge in total free throws made.
Geif finished the game making 5 of 7 field goal attempts, but was 7 of 13 from the foul line. She notched her second double-double in as many games with a 17-point, 12-rebound effort. Membreno played all 45 minutes of the game and made 5 of 8 shots from the field to total 13 points to go along with 15 rebounds. Pollinger scored 16 points for the Mids, but was credited with 10 turnovers. Morrison, the Texas native, tallied 11 points and 4 rebounds.
"I thought Alix was a total warrior out there for us," said Pemper. "She was our smartest player on both ends of the floor."
French led all players in the game with 23 points.
Navy will remain in Houston overnight to play Jackson State Saturday at 4:30 p.m. Eastern time.