Nov. 24, 2012
USAFA, Colo. – Freshman Kelsey Minato set an Army women’s basketball record with 13 made free throws as Army defeated academy rival Air Force, 72-68, on Friday evening at Clune Arena. Minato had a team-high 20 points to lead four Black Knights in double figures as Army improved to 5-1 on the season, including a flawless 4-0 mark on the road.
The win did not come easy for the Black Knights as Air Force (0-4) shot nearly 50 percent (26-53) from the floor, but seven points from Minato, including five from the charity stripe, in the final 1:57 sealed the victory for Army.
Sophomore Olivia Schretzman had her second double-double of the season with 18 points and 10 rebounds, while freshman Aimee Oertner chipped in 14 points and nine rebounds. Senior Anna Simmers rounded out Army’s double-digit scorers with her 13-point effort.
Air Force’s defense smothered Army for most of the game and especially in the first half, as the Black Knights were forced to settle for numerous last-second shots as the shot clock nearly expired. The rushed shots resulted in Army shooting just 10-29 (34.5 percent) from the floor in the first 20 minutes, including a combined 3-18 clip by Simmers and junior Jen Hazlett.
Despite a pair of scoreless streaks which stretched nearly eight minutes in the first half, the Black Knights still took a lead into halftime, 32-30, led by nine first-half points from Simmers. Army entered the game 3-0 when leading at the half.
Army’s lead evaporated just three minutes into the second stanza as the game’s leading scorer Alicia Leipprandt scored four of her 23 points in the opening minutes of the half. The Black Knights battled back, recapturing the lead at 13:50 after Minato went 3-for-3 from the line after getting hit on a three-point attempt.
The Falcons made one more strike with just over five minutes remaining, taking a 57-56 advantage, which they held for nearly 90 seconds.
Oertner rallied Army with an and-one layup, giving the Black Knights a two-point edge with 3:41 remaining which they would never relinquish. Army made eight free throws in the final three minutes to clinch the win.
The victory for Army broke the all-time series tie with Air Force as the Black Knights took an 8-7 advantage in the 15-game series.
“It was a tremendous second-half effort by our team,” said Army head coach Dave Magarity. “I felt Olivia Schretzman was remarkable – one of the best games of her young career. She showed great toughness and leadership. And once again Kelsey Minato came up big in the clutch and down the stretch with her free throws.
“Despite poor shooting overall, we found a way to win which is very encouraging for such a young team. It’s a very big win for us; anytime you beat an academy it is. To win three silver stars in a row and beat them on their home court two straight times, it just shows how much we battle.
“Credit Air Force for playing a great game – Alicia Leiprandt is a big-time player. To win this game showed tremendous character and toughness because Air Force probably played their best game of the year so far.”
After five days and two games out west, Army returns home to the friendly confines of West Point’s Christl Arena for its next game. The Black Knights host Columbia on Wednesday at 7 p.m. The Lions will travel to West Point with a 1-4 record, falling to fellow Army foe Wagner (61-47) but defeating Fairleigh Dickinson (54-47) three days after the Black Knights accomplished the same feat. Army is 1-1 at Christl Arena this season, most recently topping Penn, 58-53, on Nov. 18.
Game Notes: Army is 5-1 through the first six games of the year for the third time under head coach Dave Magarity … Army improved to 36-37 against its fellow service academies, Navy and Air Force … the win was Magarity’s 104th at Army and 416th of his career … the Black Knights improved to 3-4 in games at Air Force … the five nonconference wins are one shy of their total from the 2011-12 season … Air Force drops to 0-4 for the first time since 2003-04 … prior to Minato’s 13-free throw performance tonight, Katie Macfarlane held the Army record after making 12 vs. Bucknell in 2002-03 … Army’s 32-made free throws were two shy of the Academy record which was set in 1982 … Army eclipsed the 70-point threshold for the second consecutive game … two technical fouls were called in the game – one on Air Force coach Andrea Williams and one on Army forward Olivia Schretzman.