Jan. 6, 2013
Army 63, Morgan State 59
BALTIMORE, Md. – In its final game before the start of Patriot League play, Army women’s basketball defeated Morgan State, 63-59, at the Bears’ Hill Field House on Sunday evening. Senior Anna Simmers led all scorers with 21 points while sophomore Olivia Schretzman tacked on her fourth double-double of the season as the Black Knights finished with their best nonconference record since 2006-07.
Army (11-4) nearly doubled its shooting percentage from last game, shooting 40.7 percent (22-54), including a 44-percent clip (11-25) in the second half, to improve to 6-0 when shooting 40 percent or better. Simmers led the way by connecting on eight of 15 attempts en route to her team-best fifth 20+ point game of the season and first since Dec. 4.
MSU (4-9) was held to just 28-percent shooting (21-75) for the lowest output by an Army opponent all season.
Schretzman totaled 16 points and a game-high 15 rebounds for her first double-double since Nov. 28. The 15 caroms are the most by a Black Knight since Erin Anthony (USMA, 2011) corralled 17 against Quinnipiac on Dec. 11, 2010. Freshman Aimee Oertner narrowly missed a double-double of her own, tallying 10 points, nine rebounds and six blocks.
A pair of Oertner’s blocks came in the most crucial of times, as Army clung to a two-possession lead (63-57) with under 20 seconds to play and the Bears firing a fury of shots in the lane. The Black Knights found themselves in the precarious situation despite leading by as much as 11 with 13 minutes remaining.
Army held a seven-point lead (30-23) at the half following a powerful first frame by Schretzman. The sophomore forward totaled 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting to go along with seven rebounds to lead the game in both categories at the break.
The Black Knights held the momentum out of the gate in the second as Morgan State was whistled for its first of two technical fouls. Army’s lead stretched to double digits with 17 minutes left after sophomore Krishawn Tillett drained a three en route to a career-high nine points. Tillett earned her first career start against the Bears after starting-lineup mainstay junior Jen Hazlett missed her first game since freshman year with an illness.
Morgan State battled back to cut Army’s lead to five with 10 minutes remaining as Bianca Jarrett started heating up following just a two-point first half. Jarrett would lead MSU in scoring with a 14-point showing.
Simmers responded with a scoring burst of her own, totaling 11 straight points for Army between 13:14 and 3:39. Oertner’s bucket at 3:29 would prove to be the Black Knights’ final field goal of the game as Army led 61-51.
Both teams went on a scoring drought between 2:39 and 1:12 as Army clung to a nine-point lead before MSU’s Whitney Southerland scored her lone bucket of the game – a three pointer. Simmers was whistled for a foul shortly after, as Jarrett made both free-throws to shrink the margin to 61-57 with 53 seconds remaining. Oertner responded with a pair of freebies of her own, before making those two key rejections to clinch the game for Army. The Bears would add two more free-throws before the final buzzer, but the Black Knights would escape Baltimore with the win.
“We’re not going into league play in a tailspin after a tough loss at Brown, so that’s a huge win for this team,” said Army head coach Dave Magarity. “That was a character win right there. Morgan State was a tough team, very tough to defend, tough to be able to execute against given their unorthodox style of running and jumping and trapping, just a scramble-style defense. Heading into league play, it should help us prepare for things you just don’t see every day.”
Up next, Army will lift the lid on Patriot League play at home against Bucknell on Jan. 12. The Bison, who enter the weekend 8-6, will play one more game before facing the Black Knights – Tuesday at home against NJIT. Army swept Bucknell in both meetings last year in games decided by a combined seven points.
GAME NOTES: With an 11-4 record, Army had its best nonconference showing since going 13-3 in 2006-07 … 2006-07 was head coach Dave Magarity’s first season … tonight’s win was Magarity’s 110th at the Academy … Army reached 11 nonconference wins for the first time since 2008-09 (11-6) … six of Army’s NC wins have come on the road … Army was 6-1 in NC road games in 2007-08 … the win over a MEAC school was Army’s first since Nov. 21, 2009, against Delaware State … Anna Simmers had a career-high six assists … Army’s starting lineup changed for the first time since Dec. 10 ... this was the first time Army and Morgan State had played against each other.