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Defense Sparks Big Run, Win by Mids

Kara Pollinger

Nov. 29, 2013

Final Stats

ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- A 21-2 spurt in the middle part of the first half ignited the Navy women's basketball team to an 81-61 victory over Brown Friday evening at Alumni Hall in Annapolis.

"We really had to work hard," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper of tonight's defensive effort by the Mids. "Brown does a really good job of having lanes to drive in and attacking them. We had to move our feet. Lauren Clarke is a first-team all-league player for them who can shoot the ball. They do a nice job of rotating you out of help (defense)."

Brown (2-3) had the upper hand over Navy (5-2) in the opening minutes of the game. The Mids began the evening by missing 8 of their first 11 shots from the floor, including 5 of 6 three-point attempts, and turning the ball over four times to allow the Bears to take a 14-9 advantage with just over 11 minutes left to play in the first half.

Jade Geif (Sr., Lakeville, Minn.) scored on a layup off of a pass from Audrey Bauer (Sr., Lake Zurich, Ill.) to pull the Mids to within three points, then Alix Membreno (Sr., Loxahatchee, Fla.) grabbed a defensive carom on one end the floor before sinking a pair of free throws on the other end to make the score 14-13 with 9:59 left on the clock. Chloe Stapleton (Jr., Cary, N.C.) stole the ball to end the next Brown possession, with Kara Pollinger (Sr., Fort Gay, W.Va.) finding Geif in the paint for a layup that gave Navy a 15-14 lead. Another Brown turnover was followed by Stapleton sinking a three-point field goal attempt, then a Stapleton defensive rebound led to Pollinger feeding Bauer for a bucket to take Navy out to a 20-14 lead with just under eight minutes left in the half.



After a Brown timeout, Membreno tallied another steal which she converted herself into a layup. Both teams failed to score on their next respective possession, then a missed shot gathered in by Pollinger gave the ball back to the Mids. Geif would be fouled while attempting a shot, and her two free throws gave the Mids a 24-14 lead. A jumper by Natalie Ball ended a nearly five-minute scoring drought for the Bears, but Navy answered by sending the ball inside to Geif and her being fouled again. She made the first attempt from the charity stripe before missing the second. However, Membreno weaved her way in for the offensive rebound and to keep the Mids in possession of the ball. Geif would quickly find Membreno for a layup to make the score 27-16 in favor of the Mids.

Each team missed shots the next time they had the ball, then Geif grabbed a defensive rebound to give Navy the ball back. That would lead to Sarita Condie (Fr., Lovelock, Nev.) drilling a three-point shot to boost Navy's cushion out to 30-16 with 4:20 left in the first half.

"I'm going to have to look at the film to see a little just how we got our lead, but it was our defense," said Pemper. "I know in the first half it was our defense. That got us our first big lead and a little knowledge of how we can do against them."

Navy's slow start offensively in the game was followed by a span in which the Mids sank 2 of 3 three-point attempts and 7 of 8 shots from the floor in all during its 21-2 run.

The Mids would lead by as many as 17 points -- 39-22 -- before taking a 41-25 advantage into the locker rooms at halftime.

In all, Navy shot 51.9 percent from the field in the first half, which included a mark of 68.8 percent (11-16) in all and 71.4 percent (4-7) of its three-point shots over the last 11 minutes of the half. Conversely, Brown began the game by skinning 45.5 percent (5-11) of their field goal attempts, including 33.3 percent (2-6) of their three-point attempts, in taking its 14-9 lead. Over the remainder the half, the Bears made 31.3 percent (5-16) of their field goal attempts and just 16.6 percent (1-6) of their three-point shots.

A Bauer three-point shot 10 seconds in the second half allowed the Mids to take a 44-25 lead. The margin would soon be 46-29 when Navy went on a 9-0 run that was started with a Pollinger triple and ended with a Pollinger layup. That spurt gave the Mids a 55-26 lead less than four minutes into the second half.

The Navy reserves saw extensive court time over the remainder of the game. Brown chipped away slightly at the deficit and made it an 18-point game at 60-42 with 10:32 remaining in the game. Membreno, the only Navy starter on the court at this time, would score layups on each of the next three possessions to give the Mids a 66-42 lead to put the game away. Navy would lead by as many as 29 points following a layup by Peri Curtis (So., Coronado, Calif.) that made the score 77-48 with four minutes remaining in the game before the Bears, with many of their starters back in the game, ended the contest on a 13-4 run.

Navy continued its hot shooting in the second half as the Mids connected on 60.9 percent of their field goal attempts after halftime. Its defense remained stout as Navy limited Brown to 32.0 percent shooting from the floor in the final 20 minutes of play.

In all, Navy shot 56.0 percent from the field, including 44.4 percent (8-18) from three-point range. Defensively, the Mids limited Brown to 34.6 percent shooting and to a 7 of 27 (25.9%) effort from three-point land. The Bears entered the game ranked third nationally in three-point field goal percentage with a season mark of 46.8 percent.

The Mids also turned 17 Brown turnovers into 25 points, while the Bears tallied 11 points following the 11 miscues with the ball by the Mids.

Individually, 11 of the 12 Mids who saw court time scored at least two points, with nine of them tallying at least five points. Geif led the Mids with 13 points and 8 rebounds in just 20 minutes of playing time, while Membreno, who was on the court for just 18 minutes, recorded 12 points, 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Joining that duo in reaching double figures in points were Pollinger, who notched 10 points, 5 assists and 2 steals in 26 minutes, and Condie, who posted a career high 10 points in a Navy-high 27 minutes of playing time.

"We need to make shots," said Pemper. "I am thrilled that we did. We got the ball inside to Jade a little bit. Maybe not enough, but it was a good balanced effort."

Brown's Clarke scored a team-high 18 points, with 9 of those points coming from the foul line. She entered the game ranked fourth nationally in three-point field goal percentage (63.6%), but she ended the game making just 1 of 7 three-point attempts and 4 of 12 shots from the field overall.

The schedule for Saturday at the Navy Classic features Brown taking on UMBC at 3:30 p.m. followed by the Mids playing host to Rider at 6 p.m. The Broncs recorded a 60-48 win over the Retrievers in Friday's first game of the event.

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