Late Army Rally Falls Short Against Navy

Anna Simmers

Anna Simmers

Feb. 11, 2012

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WEST POINT, N.Y. - Army junior guard Anna Simmers led all players with 22 points and junior guard Molly Yardley helped engineer a late rally, but the Black Knights could not overcome Navy's long range shooting in a 57-50 "Star" game loss in front of a record-crowd of 5,189 on Saturday afternoon at Christl Arena.

Both teams entered the game riding three-game win streaks and in a three-way tie with Lehigh for second place in the Patriot League standings.

Army (12-13, 6-4 Patriot League) trailed 52-42 with under a minute to play and out-scored its rival counterpart 8-3 down the stretch. Navy (14-10, 7-3) did not score a field goal over the final two minutes, but used seven free throws to seal the victory.

The Black Knights held a 16-8 lead early in the game, but the Mids managed to cut the deficit to one, 20-19, at halftime. Navy drilled seven three-pointers and out-scored Army 38-30 over the final 20 minutes of action.

Army shot 32 percent (18-of-55) from the field to Navy's 37 percent (19-of-51) effort. Thanks in large part to the Army rookie Olivia Schretzman's defensive effort, the Black Knights held the Patriot League Preseason Player of the Year Jade Geif of Navy to five points and just two field goals.

Sophomore guard Alix Membreno paced three Mids in double-figure scoring, while senior guard Erin Edwards and sophomore forward Audrey Bauer totaled 12 and 10 points, respectively. Edwards scored all 12 of her points in the second half.

"You have to give them (Navy) all the credit in the world," said head coach Dave Magarity. "On paper, they have the most experience and have seasoned, poised players like (Jade) Geif and (Kara) Pollinger. We're an up-and-coming young team that has shown we're capable of winning big games. We just couldn't find a way today.

"It hurts because now we're getting into (Patriot League Tournament) seeding implications and it was a `Star' loss at home," Magarity continued. "This will take some wind out our sails the next couple of days, but it's all about how you respond and we have a big stretch coming up to do that."

Army scored seven of the first nine points of the game, six of which came courtesy of Simmers. Her free throw coming out of the first media timeout (15:15) gave the Black Knights a 7-2 cushion. Sophomore guard Jen Hazlett registered her first basket of the game with 14:22 on the clock as Army maintained a 9-4 advantage.

The Mids trimmed the deficit to 11-8 following a long Membreno jumper at the 8:31 mark. Simmers responded with the first three-pointer of the game, well behind the arc with 8:03 to play. Schretzman's acrobatic layup just before the shot clock buzzed two minutes later gave the Black Knights a 16-8 edge. The Mids proceeded to end the half riding an 11-4 run over the final six minutes. Army clung to a 20-19 cushion at the break.

Simmers scored the first five points of the second half, single-handedly stretching the Black Knights lead to 25-19 two minutes into the action. The Mids followed with a 9-2 run over the next two minutes, taking their first lead of the contest, 28-27, with 16:01 on the clock.

Neither team scored over the next 3:28, but a Navy three-point goal at 12:33 gave the Mids a 31-27 lead. Yardley answered with a triple from the right wing just 17 seconds later, pulling Army back within one, 31-30. Navy went on to score eight of the next nine points and extend its lead to 39-31 with 6:36 to play in the game.

Simmers' jumper at the 6:09 mark ended a 6:07 Army drought without a field goal and made it 39-33 in favor of Navy. The teams traded three-point plays on their respective next possessions, including Yardley's second three-pointer of the half, as Army pulled within 42-36 with 4:43 remaining.

Four-straight Simmers points on critical possessions over the next two minutes got the Black Knights within 44-40 at the 2:49 mark. Navy's Erin Edwards went on to bury consecutive three-pointers as the Mids established their largest lead of the game, 50-40, with 2:26 to play.

"Today came down to making stops," Magarity said. "We're a team that has been very good defending the three all year long. When you go that many minutes without scoring, sooner or later something is going to happen. They (Navy) broke us down and got great looks."

Navy continued to stretch its lead to 52-42 from the free throw line. Yardley sank a pair of free throws at the 39 second mark and buried her third trey of the game from the right wing with 29 seconds to play. Yardley's effort kept the Black Knights' alive and whittled the deficit to 52-47. Army kept chipping away at the deficit, as a Simmers layup with 13 seconds on the clock made it 53-49, but the Mids hung on for the victory despite the late Black Knight surge.

Army remains home to take on Colgate on Wednesday, Feb. 15, at Christl Arena. The Black Knights defeated the Raiders, 61-54, in Hamilton, N.Y., in the first regular-season meeting this year. Colgate is 2-7 and in a tie with Lafayette for seventh in the Patriot League standings. The Raiders host Lehigh at 4 p.m. today.

Game Notes: Army wore specially designed Nike road black uniforms with pink ACU (Army Combat Uniform) insets in honor of breast cancer awareness month ... Anna Simmers sang the national anthem prior to tip-off ... she reached the 20-point plateau for the fifth time this season and second game in row ... Simmers has now reached double-figure scoring in 12-straight games ... Army had won six of the last seven "Star" games heading into Saturday's tilt ... Christl Arena sold out for the Army-Navy game for the third-straight year.

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