Go Navy

Mids Run Past Rider in Second Half for Win

Jade Geif

Jade Geif

Nov. 30, 2013

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- The Navy women's basketball team scored points on each of its first seven possessions of the second half to ignite a 23-9 run and lead to the Mids posting a 75-64 victory over Rider Saturday night at Alumni Hall in Annapolis. The win served as the finale of the Navy Classic and came one day after the Mids had posted an 81-61 win over Brown.

"I'm happy to get out of there with somewhat of a comfortable win," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper.

The game couldn't have started any better for the Mids (6-2) as they scored on each of their first five possessions of the game in jumping out to an 11-0 lead a little more than three minutes into the contest. Rider (2-5) whittled the margin down to one point at both 14-13 and 17-16 before back-to-back three-point field goals by Audrey Bauer (Jr., Lake Zurich, Ill.) extended Navy's lead out to 23-16. The lead by the Mids grew to eight points at 26-18 when Rider scored the next nine points to take a 27-26 lead. Navy tallied the ensuing six points, but could only take a 32-31 lead into halftime.

Navy held advantages over Brown in both field goals made (11-8) and three-point field goals made (8-3) in the first half, but the Bears were 12 of 14 from the foul line while the Mids were just 2 of 4 from the charity stripe in the first 20 minutes of play.

The opening two minutes of the second half saw the score tied three times and the lead change hands six times.

Rider held a 38-37 lead when Alix Membreno (Sr., Loxahatchee, Fla.) was fouled while attempting a shot. Her two free throws gave the Mids a 39-38 lead with 18:04 showing on the clock. A Rider missed shot was followed by Kara Pollinger (Sr., Fort Gay, W.Va.) hitting a three-point shot for the Mids. Another Rider miss was followed by Pollinger assisting on a Jade Geif (Sr., Lakeville, Minn.) layup, then a steal and breakaway layup by Chloe Stapleton (Jr., Cary, N.C.) gave Navy a 46-38 lead with 16:27 remaining in the half and lead to a Rider timeout. The Broncs again missed a shot on their ensuing opportunity on offense, with Membreno again going to the line on Navy's next trip down the court. Her two free throws gave the Mids a 48-38 lead with 15:55 left to play.

While Navy scored on seven-consecutive possessions to start the second half, Rider scored on each of its first three opportunities with the ball before failing to score on each of its next six trips down the court on offense. The Broncs ended that lull with a jumper at the 14:42 mark to make it an eight-point game (48-40), but Navy ran off the next seven points on a triple by Stapleton, a layup by Geif and a layup by Pollinger. The latter bucket of the three boosted Navy's advantage out to 55-40 with 11:47 showing on the clock.

Navy's lead would fluctuate between being as much as 18 points (62-44) and as little as 13 (68-55, 70-57) before a 5-0 run by Rider allowed it to close to within nine points at 71-62 with 1:17 remaining. A Pollinger triple 17 seconds later ended any further suspense to the game.

"We stretched it (the lead) out midway through the second half," said Pemper. "They made a nice comeback, obviously, and they went really small. They had MyNeshia McKenzie, who really is a guard, playing center. We had lineups on the court we have never had. They were a challenging matchup. Like so many games this year, you have to score with people. We fouled too much, and that hurt us in the first half."

Navy shot 53.8 percent from the field in the second half, which included a mark of 62.5 percent (10-16) in its two-point field goal attempts. Though the Mids were just 4 of 10 (40%) from three-point land in the second half, they made 12 of 24 (50%) three-point attempts in the game. Defensively, Navy held Rider to 32.3 percent shooting from the field in the game. Helping Navy to its 43-33 second-half scoring advantage were the Mids sinking 11 of 14 free throw attempts and Rider making just 6 of its 11 attempts from the foul line in the second half. The Mids also held a 26-13 advantage on the glass in the second half.

"We had to go to a four guard lineup," said Pemper. "In the first half they really picked on M.L. Morrison (Sr., Southlake, Texas) with their leading scorer (McKenzie). She is just so good off the dribble and M.L. couldn't really guard her and neither could Audrey. In the second half we went to more of a four guard lineup and sprinkled in a little zone. When we can't get stops, we don't always play as well offensively. And we are a pretty good offensive team. I thought just a few stops in the second half helped our offensive. And then we scored in transition."

Four of Navy's five starters scored in double figures, with its fifth starter, Bauer, just missing double digits with nine points. Stapleton sank 5 of 10 three-point attempts to tally a Navy-best 17 points -- to go along with 3 steals -- in the game, with Geif adding a double-double of 15 points and 11 rebounds. Pollinger matched Geif's scoring output while also contributing 6 rebounds and 6 assists. Rounding out the quintet of starters was Membreno with 10 points and 5 rebounds.

Rider was led in scoring by Mikal Johnson's 20 points, with McKenzie adding 16 points and 8 rebounds.

Geif (14.0 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 66.7% Fg Pct.) and Pollinger (12.5 ppg, 5.5 apg, 4.0 rpg, 50% 3FG Pct.) were named to the Navy Classic All-Tournament team, along with Rider's Johnson and Lashay Banks and Brown's Sophie Bikofsky.

Navy will be back in Alumni Hall for two games this week, the first of which is Tuesday night when the Mids play host to Mount St. Mary's.



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