Nov. 24, 2012
HOUSTON, Texas - The Navy women's basketball team shot 50 percent from the field and never trailed in a 72-48 victory over Jackson State Saturday afternoon at Sharp Gym in Houston, Texas. The game was the final one to be played in the two-day Houston Baptist Husky Classic.
After both teams misfired on their respective opening possessions of the game, Kara Pollinger (Jr., Fort Gay, W.Va.) drilled a three-point field goal 90 seconds into the game for the first basket of the contest. Navy's (3-3) lead would hover between one and three points until a three pointer from Alix Membreno (Jr., Loxahatchee, Fla.) expanded the cushion out to 12-6. Pollinger would follow with a jumper two minutes later to take the Navy lead out to 14-6.
Houston Baptist (1-4) winnowed the margin down to five points at 16-11, but Navy would score 13 of the next 14 points to build a 29-12 lead with just over six minutes left in the first half. Pollinger started the run with a steal and breakaway layup, then connected on a three-point field goal on Navy's ensuing possession. The Lady Tigers tallied their only point during this stretch of play on a free throw on their next trip down the floor. Pollinger responded by sinking her third triple of the half on Navy's following possession. Membreno would snare a defensive rebound to end the next Jackson State offensive possession, then followed that up by sinking another three-point field goal to push the Navy lead out to 27-12 with 7:11 showing on the clock. Navy's run ended with a Jade Geif (Jr., Lakeville, Minn.) inside jumper one minute later.
The closing minutes of the half saw Pollinger sink her fourth trey of the frame and Membreno record her third to take the Navy lead out to as many as 19 points before the Mids headed into the locker room with a 38-24 advantage.
Navy shot 45.2 percent from the floor and made 7 of 14 (50%) three-point attempts during the opening half of play. As important, Navy turned the ball over just four times in the first half - one day after the Mids committed 29 turnovers in a disappointing overtime loss to UC Davis -- while forcing Jackson State into 10 turnovers. Navy also held a 21-16 edge on the glass over the opening frame.
Individually, Pollinger sank all four of her three-point attempts to tally 16 first-half points, while Membreno was 3 of 6 from three-point land and 4 of 8 from the field in all to score 11 points.
"We were really focused today," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper. "We did well defensively, our posts were good defensively, and we took better care of the ball than we did Friday."
Navy continued its strong play at the start of the second half. Audrey Bauer (Jr., Lake Zurich, Ill.) sank a triple on the first possession of the second half, then ended the first Jackson State opportunity with the ball on a defensive rebound. Membreno would score on a jumper 15 seconds later to continue what would be a half-opening 10-0 run by the Mids. Bauer soon hit another jumper, then Pollinger drilled another trey to expand the Navy lead to 48-24 less than four minutes into the half.
"I liked our focus in the second half," said Pemper. "We had 38 points at the half and then scored 34 in the second half."
The margin between the teams never dipped below 21 points and grew to as many as 29 points before the game ended with Navy winning by 24 points.
Navy would better its shooting percentage from the first half during the second half. The Mids shot 58.3 percent from the floor and made 3 of 6 three-point field goal attempts in the second 20 minutes of play. That gave Navy an overall shooting mark of 50.9% and a 10 of 20 effort from three-point land. Navy also finished the game with a 43-30 advantage on the glass to help hold Jackson State without a second-chance point in the game. The Navy defense also limited the Lady Tigers to a 30.4-percent mark from the field.
"We were disciplined out there," said Pemper. "To have only 14 turnovers against a type of full-court pressure we don't see a lot was pretty good."
Pollinger sank 6 of 7 three-point attempts in the game. The six treys is tied for eighth in school history while her percentage of 85.7% from outside of the arc is tied for the fourth-best three-point shooting night in Navy history. She would end the game with a personal high-tying effort of 24 points. Additionally, one night after turning the ball over 10 times against UC Davis, she turned the ball over only twice against full-court pressure from Jackson State.
"Kara was really hot today," said Pemper. "She bounced back well from Friday's effort."
Membreno, who notched a double-double of 13 points and 15 rebounds against UC Davis, was named to the all-tournament team after recording 15 points and five rebounds against Jackson State.
"As a guard, the ball is in Alix's hand more than the post," said Pemper. "But she is our steadiest player from game-to game. She is smart, is rugged, hustles, she wants the ball and is confident."
Geif also posted a double-double Saturday of 12 points and 10 caroms, to go along with five assists and zero turnovers. Today's effort gives her a double-double in each of Navy's three games this week.
"Jade was solid," said Pemper. "She was so impressive with five assists and no turnovers.
"We also received contributions from a lot of people. Everyone who came into the game contributed."
Navy will now travel to Colorado Springs, Colo., for a Monday night game at Air Force.