Hot Shooting Keeps Women’s Basketball Undefeated
ANNAPOLIS, Md. –– The Navy women’s basketball team registered a season high for points in defeating Emory & Henry, 88-57, Sunday afternoon at Alumni Hall in Annapolis to extend the season-opening winning streak for the Mids. Navy has now posted an 8-0 record this year, which is the best start to a campaign since the 1996-97 Mids also began the year with eight wins in their first eight games.
Emory & Henry, which posted a 19-8 record a year ago, competes on the NCAA Division III level and played a road game Saturday afternoon, fell to 5-2 on the season with the loss.
The Wasps scored the opening points of the game on a three-point field goal by Sydney McKinney, but the Mids scored field goals on each of their next four possessions to jump out to an 8-3 lead.
“I said to our team these (when the margin gets out of hand) can be difficult games to coach and to play in,” said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper. “We wanted to work on our pressure, our 2-3 zone, which wasn’t very effective, and then our full court pressure in the first quarter.”
“I think our full-court pressure got the best of them and was what got us going to start the game,” said Hannah Fenske (Sr., Albuquerque, N.M.). “We got a couple of quick steals and went on that 8-0 run and that propelled us to the win today.”
Navy would extend its advantage to 12-3 and then built its largest cushion of the first quarter –– 12 points, 24-12 –– toward the end of initial frame.
Bianca Roach (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.) was 3-4 from the floor and tallied a team-best eight points in the opening quarter.
Navy led by at least 10 points during the entire second stanza and went into halftime with a 45-26 lead.
The Mids forced the Wasps into 18 first-half turnovers while committing seven of their own. Those extra possessions allowed Navy to attempt 17 more shots than Emory & Henry did (42-25) in the half.
Both offenses were clicking in the third quarter. Navy was 5-8 (62.5%) from three-point land and 10-16 (62.5%) from the floor in all in scoring 28 points in the quarter while Emory & Henry was 3-4 (75%) from three-point range and 9-13 (69.2%) from the field overall in scoring 21 points. The stanza ended with Navy in front 73-47.
Navy’s advantage was at least 23 points during the entire fourth quarter.
Navy’s 88 points bettered the team’s previous season high of 86 recorded one week ago today in the title game of the Navy Classic against St. Bonaventure.
Both teams shot 45 percent from the floor on the afternoon, but the Mids were 35-77 (a season high for made field goals by the Mids) and the Wasps were 23-51. Navy also doubled the number of three-point field goals made (12-6) and attempted (37-16) by Emory & Henry. Aiding those disparities in attempts was Navy forcing a season-high 33 turnovers –– the most by an opponent during the 10-year Pemper era –– and committing just 13 of its own.
Navy has forced at least 20 turnovers in four of its last five games.
Navy registered 25 assists on its 33 made field goals. That passing helped 11 of the 12 Mids who played to score, with four players tallying double figures. Fenske was 4-7 from three-point land and 7-11 shooting overall in posting a team-high 18 points.
“I think it (the 8-0 start) is just everyone putting in the work and how unselfish everyone is,” said Fenske. “On any given night anyone can have a great game. It is not one person; everyone contributes and I think that unselfishness, that work ethic that everyone puts into it has enabled us to this start.”
“It starts with our seniors,” said Pemper on the unselfishness of the team. “But I think we have had that nice quality for as long as I have been here. We always like to be deep, we like to be balanced, try to make that extra pass and make good decisions. We were pretty good at that today.”
Taylor Dunham (Sr., Fort Belvoir, Va.) scored 12 points and dished out five assists, Morgan Taylor (So., Evans, Ga.) matched Dunham’s scoring total and Jasmine Bishop (Fr., Twinsburg, Ohio) contributed 11 points and a team-best five steals. Roach would add a career-high six assists and three steals to her statistical line.
Today’s game ended a seven-game homestand for the Mids. Navy will play two road games over the next week before halting its schedule for end of the semester exams. The Mids will play Wednesday at Richmond (5-5) and one week from today at New Mexico (9-0). That latter game against the Lobos will be a homecoming contest for Albuquerque resident Fenske.
“It is going to get good, it is going to get real good,” said Pemper of the schedule. “Richmond, we played there a few years ago and couldn’t quite pull out a win. And then of course at New Mexico, taking Hannah home to Albuquerque, they are having a great season, still undefeated, picking up 4,500 fans at home. Those will be our two toughest games we will have played to date. I think our players are looking forward to it a lot.”