Nov. 27, 2012
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - A Navy women's basketball team that was playing its third game in four days put together a strong performance on both ends of the court in recording a 60-36 victory over Air Force Monday night at Clune Arena in Colorado Springs, Colo.
The win by the Mids was their fourth victory in their last five games, with their lone loss in this span being a 66-63 overtime defeat to UC Davis on Friday. It also was Navy's fourth in a row against Air Force and the victory ran its record to 10-1 in its last 11 games against service academy teams.
"I liked the focus of our players," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper. "They were really into this game. They really wanted to play with pride, and they respect a service academy game. We looked at this as an opportunity. We had some eventful games coming into this one, but it is nice to see some of the things we learned both Friday and Saturday (a 72-48 win over Jackson State) tonight and put together a good game."
Navy (4-3) led Air Force (0-5) for all but 2:40 of the game. The Falcons took a 4-3 lead at the 17:58 mark of the first half, then increased their advantage to three points at 6-3. Jade Geif (Jr., Lakeville, Minn.) scored on a layup on Navy's next trip down the floor, then an Alix Membreno (Jr., Loxahatchee, Fla.) three-point field goal at the 15:18 mark gave the Mids an 8-6 advantage and a lead it would not relinquish.
Geif's bucket sparked a 15-1 run by Navy that gave it an 18-7 lead with 8:12 remaining in the first half. Air Force missed all seven of its field goal attempts and turned the ball over five times during this span. Conversely, the Mids made 6 of 14 attempts from the field and committed just three turnovers in the same time frame.
Navy would build a first-half lead of as many as 18 points -- 32-14 -- and went into halftime holding a 32-19 lead.
Geif was limited to just 10 minutes in the first half due to being whistled for two questionable fouls. She left the game after picking up her second foul at the 6:28 mark of the first half with the Mids holding a 22-12 lead. Geif, who earlier Monday was selected as the Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week, connected on 4 of 5 field goal attempts, scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds in just 10 minutes of playing time.
With Geif on the bench, M.L. Morrison (Jr., Southlake, Texas) sparked Navy's inside game on both ends of the floor. She made 3 of 6 field goal attempts, scored eight points and also snared four caroms in the first half.
Navy as a team shot 42.9 percent from the floor in the first half and held Air Force to just 32 percent shooting. The Mids also committed just one fewer turnover than the Falcons did in the first half -- 10-9 -- despite facing full-court pressure from Air Force.
Air Force cut the Navy lead down to 12 points early in the second half -- 33-21 -- but Navy quickly expanded it out to 19 points at 41-22 with 13:11 showing on the clock. The Falcons made another little run at the Mids as they closed to within 43-28 at the 9:50 mark of the game. Again Navy responded, this time with a 12-3 run that gave it a 55-31 lead with 6:34 left in the contest.
The Mids would lead by at least 20 points over the remainder of the game.
Navy would shoot 39.8 percent from the field for the game while holding Air Force to a mark of 29.8 percent. The Mids also sank 7 of 19 three-point attempts (36.8%) and limited the Falcons to a 20-percent effort (2-10). Additionally, Navy held a 42-32 edge on the glass and committed 15 turnovers while forcing Air Force into 19 turnovers.
Air Force came into the game averaging 10 more possessions a game than Navy did, but the Mids were able to control the tempo and not become rattled by the pressure of the Falcons.
"Air Force has some players who can fill up the basket," said Pemper. "We spent a lot of time preparing for their full court pressure. We wanted to limit our turnovers and make smart decisions with our shots on offense. I thought M.L. was especially disciplined tonight. She caught the kick-up pass a lot and could have shot the ball but instead she found our point guard and got us into an offense."
All 10 Mids who took to the court for the Mids scored in the game. Leading the team in scoring was Geif, who connected on 7 of 10 field goal attempts in scoring 15 points. She fell one rebound short of recording a double-double for the fourth consecutive game, but her nine caroms still led all players in the contest.
Audrey Bauer (Jr., Lake Zurich, Ill.) drilled a three-point field goal attempt on consecutive Navy possessions midway through the second half to help thwart the last run by the Falcons. She would score eight points in the second frame and tally 11 points on the night. Morrison accrued 10 points in the game while Membreno and Kara Pollinger (Jr., Fort Gay, W.Va.) each chipped in nine points.
"We wanted to go inside tonight," said Pemper. "Jade had 21 points against Air Force last year, but if we were in a transition game we couldn't go inside to her.
"Our teams seem to be in slow motion when we play here. The altitude does have an impact. I thought our bench really helped us tonight (15 points). I said in the locker room that I thought our unsung hero of the night was Rebecca Richmond (Fr., Superior, Colo.). She was so scrappy, got deflections, grabbed loose balls, and really knew the scouting report. It was nice to be able to count on the bench tonight after the number of games we have had in the last week."
Alicia Leipprandt, who scored 26 points in last year's game against Navy and who entered tonight averaging 14.3 points per game this year, scored 10 points to lead the Air Force scorers. She was the only member of the team to score over five points. Additionally, Dymond James, who had scored 13 points against the Mids in each of the last two years and who was averaging 12.5 points a game this year, was held scoreless.
"I liked our defense, and we had good balance on offense," said Pemper. "We just played with pride."
Navy will be back in Alumni Hall this weekend for the Navy Classic. The Mids will play East Carolina at 6 p.m. on Friday before taking on either High Point or Monmouth Saturday at 6 p.m.