Feb. 16, 2013
Army 48, Navy 40
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Army women’s basketball defeated service academy rival Navy 48-40 in Annapolis, Md., on Saturday afternoon, capturing the Gold Star and earning the Black Knights’ first regular-season sweep of the Midshipmen since 2008. Freshman Kelsey Minato totaled a game-high 19 points, including 14 in an impressive second half as Army moves into a first-place tie with Navy in the Patriot League standings. The Gold Star win is Army’s first since 2011 and 18th all-time.
Army (19-6, 8-2 PL) had an explosive second half to secure the win as the Black Knights shot 45 percent, including 55.6 percent from three while holding Navy (15-10, 8-2 PL), which entered the game as the top shooting team in the conference, to well below its season average (.407), making just 28.3 percent, including 3-of-22 from beyond the arc.
The Midshipmen were riding a six-game winning streak into Saturday morning, winning every game after losing to the Black Knights on Jan. 20.
Senior Anna Simmers scored Army’s first five points of the game and Navy was held scoreless for nearly four minutes, until Jade Geif scored the Midshipmen’s first bucket of the game. Despite Army going through a scoreless stretch of over five minutes (12:22-7:09) in the first half, the contest remained a one-possession game until freshman Aimee Oertner gave Army a 16-12 lead with 5:13 remaining for her only bucket of the half.
Army took a 17-15 lead into the locker room at halftime, holding Navy to the lowest first-half scoring output by any opponent this season and tied for third-lowest by the Midshipmen in any Army-Navy game. The Mids shot just 21.7 percent through the first 20 minutes, as Army did not fare much better at 33.3 percent.
Navy came out of the break firing as Kara Pollinger drilled a three-pointer just 23 seconds into the stanza to give the Midshipmen their first lead since the 8-minute mark in the first half. The Black Knights responded emphatically, however, going on an 8-0 run as Navy head coach Stephanie Pemper called timeout with 15:26 left in the game and Army with the largest lead of the game up until that point at 25-18.
Army’s run jumped to 11-0 as Simmers sank a three before Navy broke its silence as Alix Membreno sank a 10-footer to spark a 6-0 run by the Midshipmen, forcing Army head coach Dave Magarity to call his first timeout of the second half with 11:57 remaining and the Black Knights clinging to a 28-24 lead.
Minato got into double figures just in time with the shot clock expiring and Navy holding the momentum as the freshman point guard swished a three-pointer to halt the Midshipmen’s streak and give the Black Knights a 31-24 advantage. Minato and sophomore Olivia Schretzman combined to score the game’s next eight points as Army’s lead went back into double figures.
Despite small scoring bursts by the Midshipmen, the Black Knights remained steadfast as Navy got no closer than six in the final minute as junior Jen Hazlett went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line to ice the game for Army. The Midshipmen got a layup in the final second before the buzzer sounded to make the final 48-40.
Simmers finished with 15 points while Hazlett added eight points and seven rebounds. Oertner grabbed seven caroms herself to tie Hazlett for the team lead.
“We struggled in the first half, I thought Anna Simmers was playing too fast and she tried to force some things but she’s a tremendous athlete and did a great job in the second half as well,” said Magarity after the game. “Kelsey Minato just took over the game in the second; she had such poise, especially for a freshman in a Navy game. Our front line did a great job on Geif and Hazlett made some great plays in the second half. It was a great team effort.
”Magarity improved to 4-0 all-time in Star Games played at Navy’s Alumni Hall, while his fifth win in Annapolis overall is more than any other Army women’s basketball coach previously.
“We stuck with the same game plan, we protected the three-point line and made Geif work hard inside, especially with Aimee Oertner on her,” said Minato after the game. “We knew they were going to come out fired up, but we stuck together and played as a team and executed the game plan. We’re back to work tomorrow and we can’t sit on this win. We won’t let up at all.”
Geif finished with a double-double of 12 points and a game-high 11 points, leading the Navy rebound unit which won the battle of the boards, 34-32. Geif was the lone Midshipmen in double figures Alix Membreno and Kara Pollinger added nine points apiece.
The first-place Black Knights will remain on the road for the fourth time in five games as the Black Knights travel to Colgate on Wednesday, Feb. 23. Army defeated the Raiders 51-48 on Jan. 23 at West Point in the first game of the regular-season series. Colgate captured its first Patriot League win of the season on Wednesday night against Bucknell and will play at Lehigh on Saturday night.
Game Notes: Army earned its first regular-season sweep of Navy since 2008 and seventh since 1992 … the Black Knights have their most wins since 2008-09 … Army evened the all-time series with Navy at 30-30 and improved its lead in Star Games to 18-14 … the Black Knights have swept three Patriot League opponents for the sixth time since 2002 … Army has 10 road wins for its highest total since 2006-07 (11) … head coach Dave Magarity evened his all-time record against Navy to 7-7 … Magarity now has 431 career wins, including 118 at Army.