Dec. 1, 2012
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -- A slow night offensively inside of the three-point line and struggles on the boards limited the Navy women's basketball team in a 63-47 loss to High Point Saturday evening at Alumni Hall in Annapolis. The loss in the championship game of the Navy Classic ended a three-game winning streak by the Mids.
Navy (5-4) started the game off strong as the Mids jumped out to a 10-2 lead on High Point (4-4). Back-to-back three-point field goals by Audrey Bauer (Jr., Lake Zurich, Ill.) gave the Mids a 6-2 lead. Kara Pollinger (Jr., Fort Gay, W.Va.) would convert a pair of free throw attempts to stretch the advantage out to six points, then Jade Geif (Jr., Lakeville, Minn.) scored on an inside move to give Navy its 10-2 lead less than four minutes into the game.
The Mids then were held scoreless for the next six minutes, but the layup by Geif at the midpoint of the first half still gave Navy a 12-10 lead. Navy soon took a 17-14 lead on a three-point field goal from Alix Membreno (Jr., Loxahatchee, Fla.). The Panthers quickly went on an 8-0 run to take a 22-17 lead with six minutes remaining in the first half. High Point would lead by six points twice in the closing minutes of the frame before taking a 32-28 lead at intermission.
"High Point really came to play tonight," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper. "The way the game started off, Audrey hit a couple of three's and I think they called a timeout. They may have been on their heels a little bit. Against Loyola we sustained hot shooting throughout a half but generally teams do not. High Point just had a lot of confidence."
Navy was fortunate to be trailing by our four points at the break. High Point held a 26-17 advantage on the boards, including a 9-2 edge on the offensive glass. Additionally, the Panthers were 9 of 13 from the foul line in the first half while the lone trip to the charity stripe for the Mids was Pollinger's and that took place with 17:43 remaining in the frame.
High Point quickly scored the opening eight points of the second half to take a 38-28 lead. The Panthers would lead by double figures for all but few moments of the remainder of the game.
Navy made 9 three-point field goals in the game on 24 attempts (37.5%), but was just 7 of 36 (19.4%) in its two-point attempts. This included 3-of-22 (13.6%) shooting from inside of the arc in the second half. The Mids had entered the game having attempted at least 19 free throws in every game this season, but were limited to just six attempts (6 of 6) this evening.
High Point connected on just under 40 percent of its field goal attempts and converted 5 of 15 three-point attempts to go along with a 16-of-21 effort from the foul line. The Panthers also held a 47-33 advantage over the Mids in rebounds.
"We weren't finishing inside as well as we typically do," said Pemper, "and outside of Audrey we weren't finishing outside as well as we usually do. I told the team we weren't smart at getting the ball to Jade, along with her understanding of when she should want it."
Bauer connected on a career-high five three-point field goals on the night to finish with a Navy-best 17 points in the game.
"We couldn't get into any kind of rhythm or get any momentum going and that hurt us," said Bauer. "They hurt us inside tonight. We didn't box out as well as we needed to."
"We needed to do better defensively, we needed to have more people hit some perimeter shots," said Pemper. "Unfortunately Kara's shot just wasn't falling; she had a ton of great looks. We fouled a little bit too much and they hit their free throws, so credit to them."
Bauer, Geif and Erin Meador (So., Clifton, Va.) each grabbed six rebounds for Navy, with Pollinger contributing six assists to the Navy effort. Geif would be named to the all-tournament team.
High Point's Tayler Tremblay scored 17 points and dished four five assists, while Cheyenne Parker added 16 points, 14 rebounds and six blocked shots.
Navy will be back in Alumni Hall Tuesday night when the Midshipmen play host to William & Mary in a 7 p.m. game. That will be Navy's final home game prior to Christmas.