Nov. 15, 2012
HACKENSACK, N.J. – Senior guard Anna Simmers ended her scoring rut on Friday evening with a 21-point performance to lead all scorers in Army’s 57-52 victory at Fairleigh Dickinson. Simmers was one of three Black Knights to record double digit points and rebounds, as women’s basketball improved to 2-1 on the year and dropped FDU to 0-3.
Nine of Simmers’ 21 points came from the free-throw line, including six in the final minute to seal the win for the Black Knights. Army’s top scorer from 2011-12, who had just 11 combined points through the first two games of the year, snagged 10 rebounds for her first double-double since Feb. 18, 2012, and the third of her career.
Freshman Aimee Oertner collected a double-double for the second time in three collegiate games, registering 16 points and 10 rebounds, while sophomore Olivia Schretzman was credited with her first career double-double with a 10-point, 10-rebound showing. Schretzman has reached double-digit rebounds in all three games this season. Oertner also added four blocks.
Army shot 30.5 percent (18-59) from the floor on the game but just 1-18 from three. The Black Knights made up for it, however, at the charity stripe, making 20-of-25 attempts from the line, including a decisive 16-of-18 clip in the second half.
The Black Knights got off to a slow start, totaling just 20 points in the first half – their lowest output of the season. Fortunately for Army, FDU sputtered out of the gate as well, shooting below 30 percent (8-27) and tallying just 18 points. The Black Knights took their first halftime lead of the season into the locker room, after freshman Bridget Ryan scooped in a layup for her first collegiate field goal in the final seconds of the stanza.
The second set of 20 minutes was a different story as Simmers cracked the second-half scoring column just 20 seconds into the period to push Army’s lead to four. FDU chipped away at the margin before taking it over at 17:21, and eventually pushing its lead to as much as eight with just under nine minutes to play.
The three-pronged attack of Simmers, Oertner and Schretzman kicked it into gear at that point, scoring 21 of Army’s final 23 points. The Black Knights grabbed its first lead in nearly 13 minutes at 5:54 thanks to a 9-0 run, with Oertner responsible for five of those points.
The Knights were hit with their seventh team foul of the second half at that point, as the Black Knights spent much of the final five minutes at the free-throw line. Army’s 80-percent showing from the stripe was a season best.
FDU cut Army’s lead to one with 2:56 remaining, but a pair of missed free throws and a crucial steal by junior Jen Hazlett gave the ball back to the Black Knights, meaning more trips to the foul line. Army stretched its lead to as much as eight in the final seconds, before FDU’s second-leading scorer Erika Livermore chucked up a three-pointer at the buzzer which went in. Danielle Pankey led the Knights with 18 points on 7-of-16 shooting, while Livermore grabbed a team-best 10 rebounds.
“I thought we did a really great job of changing defenses for the first time all year,” said Army head coach Dave Magarity. “We haven’t played a lot of zone, and it’s the first time we’ve ever really showed a 2-3 matchup, and we did a good job of it in the first half. I felt comfortable going to it in the second half.
“Defense was the difference tonight. Our ability to defend, our ability to rebound, again. This team is now becoming a pretty consistent rebounding team. I thought we were going up against a really tough, athletic team and we still outrebounded them by 15. That keeps us in the game.
“Now our offense has to catch up. It was obviously a coming out for Simmers after two really rough games, but she’s that good. I mean, how consistent was she from the foul line? That just completely put us in the position to win the game. ”
As Magarity mentioned, Army banged the boards again, outrebounding its opponent (50-35) for the third consecutive game and reaching the 50-rebound mark for the second time in 2012-13.
Army will return to West Point for the second time this season when the Black Knights host Penn on Sunday afternoon at Christl Arena. Tipoff against the 0-2 Quakers is slated for 1 p.m. Penn leads the all-time series 3-2 after a 70-60 victory at The Palestra in the 2011.
Game Notes: Army improved to 7-3 all-time against FDU, including 3-2 in Hackensack, N.J. … Army is 2-0 in its first two road games of the season for the first time since 1987 … Army has won back-to-back road games for the first time since 1/7/11 and 1/13/11 … Army was 10-6 a season ago when leading at the half.