Women's Basketball Wins League Opener
Dec. 29, 2017
ANNAPOLIS, Md. ---- An opportunistic Navy women's basketball team posted a 73-44 victory over Loyola Friday night at Alumni Hall in Annapolis. The victory by the Mids (11-1, 1-0 Patriot League) over the Greyhounds (2-10, 0-1) came in the league opener for both teams.
Navy won the opening game of its league season for the first time since the 2013-14 campaign.
"Really happy to get the Patriot League season off to a good start," said Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper.
Navy opened the scoring on a layup by Taylor Dunham (Sr., Fort Belvoir, Va.) 12 seconds into the game. The Mids would lead for the remaining 39:48 of the night.
That initial layup was a sign of Navy's offense for the evening as five of the team's first six made field goals came on layups to help the Mids jump out to a 14-2 lead. Loyola winnowed the margin down to five points late in the first quarter, and the difference was seven points a pair of times early in the second quarter before Navy took a 37-27 lead at halftime.
The Mids took advantage of the turnovers they forced Loyola into during the first half. Navy scored 11 points after Loyola's 14 turnovers while the Greyhounds scored just one point after the six turnovers committed by the Mids.
Layups by Dunham and Bianca Roach (Jr., Virginia Beach, Va.), respectively, opened the third quarter to extend the Navy lead out to 41-27. The Mids would enter the fourth quarter with a 52-34 lead, then led by at least 20 points for the majority of the fourth quarter.
Navy limited Loyola to just seven points in the third quarter and 17 for the entire second half. This is after allowing LIU Brooklyn to score just 16 points in the second half of Navy's most recent game against the Blackbirds on Dec. 20. The Greyhounds, who were playing without 2017 first-team all-league performer Bri Betz-White due to an injury, were 5-26 (19.2%) from the field in the final 20 minutes of the game. On the other end of the court, Navy was 13-32 (40.6%) from the floor in the same span.
The Mids entered the game averaging 9.8 three-point field goals made and 27.6 three-point field goals attempted a game this season, but tonight scored 48 of their points in the paint with many of those baskets coming on drives within the halfcourt offense. Navy ended the game 2-10 from three-point land. The two makes are tied for the second fewest by the Mids during the 10-year Pemper era, and the 10 attempts are tied for the fewest in a game under the Navy head coach.
"Usually they (Loyola) clog the basket a little bit more and play the kickout," said Pemper. "Tonight they weren't. It seemed Taylor was able to get all of the way to the basket. They were so big and they switched, so Taylor was going against their post players much of the time. That's where we picked up some handcheck calls."
Navy made up for the limited use of the long ball by going 19-23 (82.6%) from the foul line. A trio of Loyola players fouled out and the Greyhounds were whistled for 23 fouls. Conversely, Loyola was 9-14 from the foul line after the 20 fouls committed by the Mids.
The Mids also ended the game scoring 26 points after the 29 turnover they forced. Loyola would tally just three points after the 14 turnovers committed by Navy.
Dunham was 8-10 from the foul line and 7-16 from the field to total a game-high 22 points. Joining her in double figures was Roach with a career-high 13 points. She was 6-10 from the floor and made one of her two foul shots. Additionally, Kaila Clark (So., Hughesville, Md.) tallied 11 rebounds, eight points, five steals and two blocks.
Loyola was led in scoring by Ashley Hunter with 12 points.
Navy will take to the road for its next two games, a span that begins Tuesday night at Lehigh.
"I know we can play better," said Pemper, "and we are going to have to on the road Monday night."