Mids Fall in Barnburner
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. –– In a game played to the level befitting of two teams that entered the day with undefeated records, New Mexico (11-0) edged the Navy women’s basketball team (9-1), 94-87 in overtime, Sunday afternoon at Dreamstyle Arena in Albuquerque, N.M.
“It just had that feeling of who was going to fall first and who was going to get back up,” said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper.
Both teams held slim leads in each of the first three quarters, with Navy’s largest advantage in that span being eight points (first quarter) and New Mexico holding a lead of as many as six points which came at the very end of the third quarter.
“I thought we had a great start,” said Pemper. “We wanted to get the lead and keep the crowd a little quiet. I thought we were effective there.”
The Lobos extended their cushion out to a eight points (70-62) in the opening seconds of the fourth quarter. It was still a six-point difference –– 76-70 –– close to the midpoint of the frame, then the Mids quickly winnowed the margin down to one point at 78-77 with 3:39 left to play on a three-point field goal by Taylor Dunham (Sr., Fort Belvoir, Va.). The lead for the Lobos went back to three points with 3:26 remaining, then the Mids again cut it down to one point on a jumper by Kaila Clark (So., Hughesville, Md.) with just under two minutes still to play.
New Mexico stretched the lead back to three points when Jaisa Nunn scooped up a loose ball and scored after a block by Clark with 96 seconds left on the clock. Back came the Mids on their next trip down the court and they put the ball into the hands of Dunham who promptly drilled her ninth three-point basket of the night to tie the game –– and the school record for the most triples made in a game –– at 82-82 with 1:05 still to play.
The Lobos missed a three-point shot on their ensuing possession, with Sophie Gatzounas (Fr., South Hadley, Mass.) snaring the carom for the Mids. Navy worked time off the clock until New Mexico fouled Dunham with five seconds left on the clock. The Mids inbounded again to Dunham and her long three-point shot just prior to the buzzer hit the rim, the backboard and the ground to leave the teams tied at the end of regulation.
“We had one or two chances there at the end of regulation,” said Pemper. “I wish we had gone a little sooner on that last possession of regulation. That’s totally my fault, with them (New Mexico) not being in the bonus foul wise. That’s the only thing; I don’t think our last shot was on par with what we had done to tie it. There is regret there.”
New Mexico scored at least one point on each of its seven possessions in overtime. The Lobos opened the extra quarter on a 7-0 run, after which the Mids could only close to as few as five points.
Navy as a team broke the school record for the most triples made in a game with 16 (previous record was 15 set in March, 2010). The Mids were 16-49 from three-point land (32.7%) and 30-78 from the field overall (38.5%).
New Mexico shot 46.8 percent (37-79) from the floor, which included a 6-16 (37.5%) effort from three-point range.
“We knew we were going to have our hands full defensively for most of the game,” said Pemper. “Credit to New Mexico for their being effective and how difficult they are to guard.”
Dunham’s nine triples tied the January, 1992 single-game record of Angela Dobbs. Dunham was 9-19 from outside of the arc and ended the game with a career-high 34 points. That bettered her previous high of 28 set in a double overtime game two years ago, and ties her for sixth place in Navy history for the most by a Mid in a game. It is the most by a Navy player since Alix Membreno totaled 34 points in a double overtime game four years ago.
“I did have the feeling that everything I tossed up there was going in,” said Dunham. “It was the second time I have had that feeling (other time was her 28-point effort against Colorado State two years ago).”
Dunham was one of five Mids to reach double figures in points. Clark totaled 10 points to go along with 14 rebounds and four blocks, Gatzounas contributed 17 points and 11 rebounds, and Morgan Taylor (So., Evans, Ga.) chipped in 10 points.
“Taylor Dunham; just an incredible night shooting,” said Pemper. “Sophie Gatzounas battled and made some huge plays. She tried to make a real difference play taking a charge at the start of overtime and didn’t get the call. Kaila Clark had a double-double and was huge, and Bianca Roach’s (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.) defense on Cherise Beynon was huge. She (Roach) played a lot more minutes than she usually does (43).”
Navy made the trip to New Mexico to allow senior and Albuquerque native Hannah Fenske to play a game in her hometown. Fenske totaled 14 points and a career-high eight assists.
“The crowd is so into the game,” said Fenske on the 6,763 in attendance, which included many of her family and friends. “It is so loud in here. It is a great atmosphere. We battled and fought hard and just came up a little short.
“It was great to be back here. I wish I could have knocked down a couple more (shots), but overall it was a great game and a really fun place to play.”
“They (New Mexico) do have a terrific fan base,” said Pemper. “Really vocal. It was louder in there than we have ever played in front of. We couldn’t even hear our point guard making calls.
“It is so special for these women to be in that environment and have that competition. Two good teams, obviously undefeated but two good teams. We learn about ourselves more in a game like this than we would in some other games. I think we learned we have a special team and I am looking forward to continuing on with them.”
New Mexico also had five players score in double figures. Leading the Lobos in points was Beynon with 20 points.
Navy is now has a break in its schedule until the completion of the end of the semester exams. The Mids will resume their season and close their non-league slate Dec. 20 at LIU Brooklyn.