Jan. 30, 2013
Holy Cross 51, Army 46
WEST POINT, N.Y. – After starting Patriot League play 4-0, Army women’s basketball lost its second consecutive conference game on Wednesday night as Holy Cross defeated the Black Knights at Christl Arena, 51-46. Army was hamstrung by a 15-point first half and found themselves in a 15-point hole with six minutes remaining before clawing back, but the final minute frenzies were not enough as the Black Knights fall to 15-6 overall and 4-2 in the league.
Junior Jen Hazlett totaled a team-high 15 points on five three-pointers, matching her career best, and freshman Kelsey Minato tacked on 11, while sophomore Olivia Schretzman tied for the game high with seven rebounds.
Minato drained a three-pointer just 28 seconds into the game, but the optimism soon evaporated as the Black Knights went without a basket for nearly 10 minutes (9:56). Despite the draught, Holy Cross (10-11, 2-4 PL) managed just nine points during that span, with the Crusaders’ largest lead of the half coming with 11:22 left, 11-3.
Army got within four, 14-10, after Holy Cross went nearly four minutes without a basket of its own. The score remained within two possessions for the remainder of the half, until Alex Smith laid in a bucket with four seconds left in the stanza, as Army trailed 23-15 at the break.
The Black Knights, who set a season low for first-half points at American on Saturday, shaved one off that total against the Crusaders for the lowest first-half output since Feb. 14, 2010, when Army posted 13 against Lehigh.
Senior Anna Simmers, who did not start for the first time all season, gave Army an early spark in the second half. Simmers entered the game at 15:31 and registered an assist and three-pointer within one minute of playing, as the Black Knights got within one, 28-27. Smith and Christine Ganser responded, however, totaling eight unanswered points en route to a double-digit lead.
Despite matching their field goal total of the first half in just the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Black Knights still found themselves in a 15-point hole heading in to the under-eight media timeout, 45-30.
Holy Cross maintained its double-digit lead thanks to Smith’s hot shooting, especially from outside. Smith, who collected a career-best 22 against Army in 2012, totaled 21 on Wednesday night, including five three-pointers, as the junior guard seemed to have an answer every time Army started to battle back. The 21 points were the most Army has allowed any individual player since Dec. 10, 2012, against Loyola.
The Black Knights made one final push in the final two minutes as sophomore Jordan Elliott made her first career three-pointer with 1:53 left before stealing the ball on the Crusaders’ inbounds pass. Hazlett drained a three to get Army within five, 51-46, before Holy Cross called for a timeout with 1:33 on the clock.
Despite forcing the Crusaders to burn their final timeout with 43 seconds left to avoid a five-second inbounding violation, Army failed to get a shot off and could not capitalize on three missed free-throw attempts on the front ends of one-and-ones by Holy Cross, as the Crusaders squeaked out the 51-46 victory.
“We ran into a little bit of a buzz saw tonight,” said Army head coach Dave Magarity. “We obviously looked a little bit off from the beginning of the game; we just never had any offensive flow or poise. Honestly, I don’t know how much Holy Cross had tod o with that defensively, other than the fact that they do a good job of changing defenses, but we’ve never had a problem with that. It was more of a lack of poise at times; we put a lot of pressure on Minato and it’s starting to catch up to us a little bit. We expect her to make every shot and she had a rough night. She’s becoming a marked person. But that’s not the difference in the game. We had a lack of production from our bench, and we had people playing minutes who aren’t giving us proficiency and production. When we have someone like Schretzman who has an off night, or a coach’s decision for Simmers to sit, that exposes us. It is what it is. We have to figure it out.”
Army will play four of its next five games away from Christl Arena, beginning on Saturday at Lehigh. The Mountain Hawks lost to Navy, 72-47, on their home court on Wednesday night and enter the Army game with a 10-11 record, including 2-4 in Patriot League games. Army and Lehigh split the 2012 series with each team winning on their respective home courts. Tipoff in Bethlehem, Pa., on Saturday is slated for 7 p.m.