Nov. 23, 2013
TULSA, Okla. - An 18-2 run in the early part of the game ignited the Navy women's basketball out to a 22-point halftime lead and an eventual 89-64 victory over Oral Roberts Friday night at the Mabee Center in Tulsa, Okla.
Navy improved to 4-1 on the season with the win, while Oral Roberts, which won the Southland Conference title a year ago, fell to 1-3 with the loss.
The 89 points scored by the Mids were the most by a Navy team since scoring 89 in an overtime win over Lehigh in January 2006, and were the most in a regulation length game since scoring 93 against Austin Peay in December 1994.
A Jade Geif (Sr., Lakeville, Minn.) layup with 16:16 left in the first half gave the Mids a 9-3 lead and started a stretch in which Navy scored on six of eight possessions. A missed shot by Tulsa was followed by an errant shot by Geif, then a turnover by the Golden Eagles led to Chloe Stapleton (Jr., Cary, N.C.) drilling a three-point filed goal. Alix Membreno (Sr., Loxahatchee, Fla.) promptly stole the ball and took it three-quarters of the length of the court to boost the Navy lead out to 14-3 and result in an ORU timeout.
"I thought we came out really strong tonight," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper. "I think we saw the maturity and talent we had early on."
A Golden Eagles field goal after the stoppage in play was answered by an Audrey Bauer (Sr., Lake Zurich, Ill.) three-point field goal. Both teams committed turnovers on their next respective possessions, then Bauer grabbed a defensive rebound on one end and connected on another triple on the other end. Bauer snared yet another defensive carom, which was followed by Geif scoring on a layup off of an assist from Membreno while being fouled. Her ensuing free throw gave Navy a 22-5 lead with 13 minutes remaining in the first half.
The Navy advantage would grow to 20 points at 30-10 with six minutes left in the first half and it went into halftime holding a 47-25 cushion.
The Navy lead only grew in the opening minutes of the second half. The Mids started the final 20 minutes with a 7-2 run that was capped by a trey from Bauer to make the score 54-27. Navy began to substitute liberally from there, with as many as four reserves appearing on the court at once. The Mids would take their largest lead of the game at 67-39 with a little more than 10 minutes remaining in the game.
Oral Roberts could only chip into the margin in bits and pieces. Navy's lead dipped below 20 points for the first time since the six minute mark of the first half when a pair of free throws by Oral Roberts made the score 58-77 with 3:15 left in the game. Just 27 seconds later, Stapleton connected on a three-point field goal and then, after two missed shots on the next ORU possession, M.L. Morrison (Sr., Southlake, Texas) grabbed an offensive board and was fouled while going back up with the shot. Her two free throws with just under two minutes left boosted Navy's lead out to 82-58.
"Jenni Ryan was a tough matchup for us in the second half," said Pemper. "We needed to have someone off the bench step up and do a better job. They really came out strong after halftime. It was good of us to still win the second half."
The previous high for points scored in a game in Pemper's six seasons was 77. The Mids have now scored at least 40 points in four of their last eight half's of play.
After shooting 45 percent from the floor in the first half, Navy shot 51.6 percent in the second half. The Mids made 5 of 15 three-point attempts in the first 20 minutes and 5 of 16 attempts in the final 20 minutes. Navy also made 11 of 14 free throw attempts for the game.
Defensively, Navy held Oral Roberts to 44.2 percent shooting in the game, which included an 8 of 23 effort from three-point land. The Mids also did a good job on the glass, holding a 46-29 advantage in all rebounds and a 17-6 lead on the offensive boards. That led to Navy having a 28-5 advantage in second-chance points. Additionally, Navy committed just eight turnovers and forced Oral Roberts into 12 turnovers.
"I thought we executed the game plan well, and we defended well, too," said Pemper. "We did a good job of defending their leading scorer (Kaylan Mayberry, 4-14 shooting, 11 points). Obviously the offensive rebounds were a lot for us, and we also took good care of the ball."
Each of the 10 Mids who played in the game scored, with five Mids reaching double figures. Kara Pollinger's (Sr., Fort Gay, W.Va.) 17 points and Morrison's career-high 15 points led Navy. Morrison was 5 of 6 from both two-point range and the foul line, while also snaring a career-high eight rebounds.
Alexus Wilson scored 12 of her Oral Roberts-high 17 points after halftime.
Navy will remain on the road Sunday when the Midshipmen play at Minnesota in a 3 p.m. Eastern, 2 p.m. Central time tip.