Kara Pollinger and Navy host Holy Cross Wednesday night at Alumni Hall.
Jan. 10, 2012
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. -- The four teams to capture victories on the opening weekend of Patriot League play will seek momentum when the second slate of games hits Wednesday, while four other teams will look to avoid dropping into an 0-2 hole.
American, Army, Lehigh and Navy opened League action with victories Saturday. American built an eight-point lead at Colgate and extended it in the second half before taking a 56-43 win on the road, while Army went toe-to-toe with Bucknell before earning a 67-64 win over the Bison. Lehigh started slow at home but got hot in the second half before defeating Holy Cross 75-60, while defending champion Navy turned around a 16-point first-half deficit with 42 points after halftime to rally for a 60-55 win at Lafayette.
In all, three of the four road teams picked up victories Saturday, showing just how unpredictable Patriot League play can be at this stage of the season.
Winning on the road is nothing new to American this season, as the Eagles improved to 6-1 away from Bender Arena. The Eagles are 4-1 on another team's home court and 2-0 at a neutral site. Meanwhile for Army and Navy, it was just their second wins away from home this season.
Junior forward Anna Simmers scored 27 points Saturday, the most of any League student-athlete this season, in Army's win at Bucknell and was named Patriot League Anaconda Player of the Week. She and the Black Knights will host Lafayette Wednesday night at 7 p.m. at Christl Arena. The Leopards feature the two-time reigning Patriot League Anaconda Rookie of the Week Emily Homan, who had 16 points in Saturday's loss to Navy.
The remainder of Wednesday's slate features Holy Cross at Navy, Bucknell going to Colgate and American hosting Lehigh. All games are slated to tip at 7 p.m.
Patriot League Weekly Awards (1.2-1.8)
ANACONDA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
ANNA SIMMERS, ARMY Jr., G, Anchorage, Alaska
20.5 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.0 spg, .405 FG%
ANACONDA ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
EMILY HOMAN, LAFAYETTE Fr., F, Upper Darby, Pa.
11.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.0 apg, 2.0 bpg, .417 FG%
HONORABLE MENTION PERFORMANCES LAST WEEK
ALIX MEMBRENO, NAVY So., G, Loxahatchee, Fla.
16.5 ppg, 11.5 rpg, 1.5 spg, .444 FG%
HILARY WEAVER, LEHIGH So., G, Millersburg, Ohio
20.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 3.0 apg, .778 FG%
AMY LEPLEY, HOLY CROSS Jr., F, Norfolk, Mass.
17.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 3.5 aps, 2.0 spg, .469 FG%
ALEXIS DOBBS, AMERICAN So., G, Berea, Ohio
10.5 ppg, 6.0 apg, 3.0 rpg, 2.0 spg, .444 FG%, .500 3FG%
Patriot League Notebook
ROAD TEAMS TAKE EARLY ADVANTAGE
The away teams started strong on the opening weekend of League play, going 3-1 in the four contests. American, Army and Navy were all victorious away from home, and in the latter's case it was especially significant as the Mids erased a 16-point deficit in the first half to rally for the victory.
DEFENDING CHAMPS OFF TO STRONG START
It never comes easy during League play, but defending champion Navy was able to capture a win during the opening weekend of competition after rallying from behind to take a 60-55 victory at Lafayette Saturday afternoon. The Mids went over 14 minutes without a field goal in the first half and trailed by as many as 16. Navy scored the last four points of the first frame and came out on a 6-0 run to start the second to begin the comeback before orchestrating a decisive 16-0 run later in the game for the win. Audrey Bauer scored 16 of her 18 points in the second half, while Kara Pollinger had 12 after the break.
BIG PERFORMANCE WHEN IT COUNTS MOST
There's been several 20-plus point scoring performances in the Patriot League this season, but Army's Anna Simmers waited until the League opener for her best game of the season to date. The junior scored 27 points, the most of any Patriot Leaguer this season, and her teammate Jen Hazlett chipped in 19 as Army held off Bucknell 67-64 Saturday night. Simmers set career bests in made field goals (11) and attempts (21) in the win.
HOMAN A REVELATION FOR LAFAYETTE
Freshman Emily Homan was tabbed as the Patriot League Anaconda Rookie of the Week for the second consecutive time Monday and third instance overall this season. Her selection Monday was the sixth time a Lafayette player earned a weekly award, tying a school record. Homan accounted for four of the awards, with three Rookie and one Player. Danielle Fiacco has been named Player of the Week once, while Brya Freeland was also a Rookie of the Week.
WEAVER BREAKS OUT FOR LEHIGH
The Patriot League as a whole is undergoing a transformation this season. After last year's All-League team featured 10 of its 11 members as seniors, it's no surprise that this season there's been several sophomores and juniors who have stepped up for their clubs. Lehigh sophomore Hilary Weaver is the latest to do so, as she scored a career-high 20 points in Saturday's 75-60 victory over Holy Cross. Weaver joins a quickly improving sophomore class that spans the entire League.
FIACCO RISES INTO THE CAREER TOP 10
It was just a matter of time. Lafayette sophomore center Danielle Fiacco moved into sole possession of 10th place on the Patriot League's all-time blocked shots list. She recorded three rejections Saturday against Navy, giving her 67 for the season and 138 for her career. Next up is ninth place, as she trails ninth-place Leandra Fuller of Colgate, who accumulated 170 rejections from 2001-05.
HOLIDAY TOURNAMENT RECAP
The four League teams to participate in holiday tournaments two weeks ago - Holy Cross, Lafayette, Lehigh and Navy - combined for a 3-5 record during competition. The Crusaders, Leopards and Mountain Hawks each picked up one win apiece, while the Mids fell in both games at the Fordham Holiday Classic. Navy dropped the two contests by a combined six points. Holy Cross and Lafayette picked up victories in the consolation games of the Miami Holiday and Terrapin Classic tournaments, respectively, while Lehigh opened its Christmas City Classic with a win.
ALL-ACCESS HAS YOU COVERED
Once again this season, over 100 Patriot League men's and women's basketball contests are available with a subscription to Patriot League All-Access. For $7.95 a month or $19.95 for a year, fans can watch a vast majority of the League's basketball contests, along with watching archived coverage of fall championships and having access to available winter and spring championships for the rest of the 2011-12 academic year. For more, visit http://www.patriotleague.org/allaccess.
Bill Gibbons became the second head coach in the Patriot League to reach a significant victory milestone this season when Holy Cross defeated New Hampshire 61-50 earlier this season. It was the 500th win of his career, which is now in its 27th season and has spent its entire duration on the Crusader sidelines. Gibbons joins Lafayette's Dianne Nolan as the only two League coaches with at least 500 career wins. Earlier this season Army's Dave Magarity collected his 400th coaching victory when Army defeated St. Francis (N.Y.).
NEXT UP ON THE MILESTONE PARADE
With two victory plateaus having been reached, there's now a third on the way that seems likely this season. Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper, who is in her fourth season in Annapolis, has 296 career victories after the Mids wrapped up non-League play with a 67-51 win over NJIT last Tuesday and came from behind for a 60-55 win at Lafayette Saturday in the opener of the League schedule.
CBS SPORTS NETWORK BROADCASTS THE PATRIOT LEAGUE
Three Patriot League contests are scheduled to be televised on CBS Sports Network, with two featuring one of the most vaunted rivalry in intercollegiate athletics. Both regular season contests between Army and Navy will be shown on the network, with the Jan. 14 game hailing from Alumni Hall in Annapolis, Md., and the Feb. 11 contest at Christl Arena at West Point, N.Y. Both games will tip at 12 p.m. CBS Sports Network will also televise the Patriot League championship on Saturday, March 10, 2012 at 6 p.m.
ZEHNER'S HISTORIC FEAT
It was bound to happen at some point, and Bucknell freshman Amy Zehner finally accomplished it earlier this season when she was named to both the Patriot League Anaconda Player and Rookie of the Week awards after averaging 22.5 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.0 blocks, 3.0 steals and 2.5 assists per game for the Bison. Her 25-point outburst against Youngstown State was the largest point total by a Patriot Leaguer this season, and she became the eighth freshman in Bucknell history to record back-to-back games of at least 20 points when she scored 20 at Buffalo. Last Tuesday, Lafayette's Emily Homan became the second player in League history named to both awards at the same time.
MAGARITY REACHES 400 PLATEAU
Jen Hazlett scored a career-high 20 points on 8-of-14 shooting to lead Army to its 59-43 win at St. Francis (N.Y.) Nov. 16, delivering head coach Dave Magarity the 400th victory of his career, which has spanned three decades and now approaches 100 wins at West Point. Army led by five at the half after shooting 57 percent from the floor, and pulled away in the second half as the team collected 21 bucks and 17 assists. Magarity is now the third coach in the League with at least 400 career victories, joining Lafayette's Dianne Nolan and Bill Gibbons of Holy Cross.
AMERICAN NAMED PRESEASON FAVORITE
With 94 points and 11 first-place votes, American topped the 2011-12 Patriot League Preseason Women's Basketball Poll. The Eagles will aim to capture their first League crown in program history after reaching the title game in each of the last two seasons. American finished ahead of second-place Lehigh, which totaled 83 points and three first-place votes. Defending League champion Navy took third with 74 points and the last two remaining first-place ballots. Bucknell finished fourth in the poll, the same position in which the Bison ended the regular season a year ago. They collected 58 points, followed by Holy Cross in fifth with 52. Rounding out the poll were Lafayette (38 points), Army (26) and Colgate (23).
NAVY'S GEIF NAMED PRESEASON PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Navy's Jade Geif got better and better as the 2010-11 season went on, and the hardware began adding up quickly. She was named Patriot League Rookie of the Year at the end of the regular season and added Patriot League Tournament Most Valuable Player honors after helping lead the Midshipmen to their first League crown in program history. Geif was recognized again by the League's eight head coaches and women's basketball sports information directors with the Preseason Player of the Year honor and a spot on the Preseason All-League team. In nearly 30 minutes per game a season ago, Geif was second in the League averaging 7.9 rebounds per game and is Navy's top returning scorer (9.6 ppg). Geif became the first player named Rookie of the Year and Tournament MVP in the same season since Bethany O'Dell of Holy Cross in 2007.
HAYS FORT TAKES THE REIGNS AT COLGATE
The Patriot League features one new face on the sidelines in 2011-12, with Nicci Hays Fort entering her first season at Colgate. Entering the season with over a decade of coaching experience, Hays Fort comes to Hamilton, N.Y., after serving as the associate head coach on Doug Bruno's staff at DePaul. Coincidentally, one of Hays Fort's last contests coaching the Blue Demons was in the first round of last year's NCAA Tournament, when DePaul faced off with Navy. The Raiders look to rebound from a 7-22 showing and a 2-12 mark in the League last season, and boast the returns of junior Jhazmine Lynch, the 2010 Patriot League Rookie of the Year, along with senior Tricia Oakes and a pair of freshmen in Mariah Jones and Kelly Reid who are immediately contributing.
Patriot League Games
LEHIGH MOUNTAIN HAWKS (8-7, 1-0) AT AMERICAN EAGLES (9-6, 1-0)
Bender Arena (3,044); Washington, D.C. Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Series: American, 17-11
Streak: American, One Win Last Meeting: American 69, Lehigh 64 (OT; 3.9.11)
Last Lehigh Win: 57-46 (2.5.11) Last Five Games: Lehigh, 3-2
A pair of teams that won Saturday will meet up Wednesday night at 7 p.m. inside Stabler Arena when American hosts Lehigh for the 29th all-time meeting between the two ... Lehigh is coming off a 75-60 victory over Holy Cross Saturday at home, while the Eagles went to Colgate and left with a 56-43 triumph ... American won two of the three meetings last season, including a thrilling 69-64 overtime win in Bethlehem, Pa., in the semifinals of the Patriot League Tournament.
LEHIGH Sophomore Hilary Weaver had a breakout game with a career-high 20 points as Lehigh ran away from Holy Cross with a 75-50 victory at Stabler Arena Saturday afternoon ... Alexa Williams narrowly missed a double-double for the Mountain Hawks with 14 points and eight rebounds, while fellow senior Aly Byorick poured in 11 points ... Lehigh trailed Holy Cross 30-29 at halftime, but shot 15 of 25 (60 percent) from the floor in the second half and 7 of 13 for the game on 3-point attempts ... With the game tied at 42, Lehigh went on a 14-3 run and took a 56-45 lead midway through the second half ... Amy Lepley, who tied a career-best with 22 points for the Crusaders, sank a bucket to bring Holy Cross within 61-55, but Lehigh rebuilt the double-digit lead shortly thereafter and didn't look back ... Lehigh hit 14 of its 15 foul shots ... Williams is just barely off of averaging a double-double, with 10.9 points and a League-high 9.3 rebounds per game ... The Mountain Hawks improved to 6-2 at Stabler this season, but are a combined 2-5 on the road or a neutral floor.
AMERICAN Alexis Dobbs scored a game-high 15 points and Ebony Edwards had a season-best 10 to pace American to a 56-43 win at Colgate Saturday afternoon ... American shot nearly 47 percent in the first half (14 of 30) and took a 31-23 lead into halftime ... The Eagles trailed 9-7 early but used an 11-0 run to move ahead 18-9 just over midway through the first half ... American opened the second half with a 12-2 spurt that gave it a 43-25 lead at the 15:12 mark, and led by as many as 19 shortly thereafter before cruising to the 13-point victory ... The Eagles defense forced Colgate into just five field goals in the second half, shooting 5 of 21 (23.8 percent) and finishing just 2 of 11 from beyond the arc ... The Eagles are just 3-5 at home this season but have won two of their last three at Bender entering Wednesday's game with Lehigh ... The captains are leading the way for American, with Dobbs up to 10.7 points per game and Strack holding steady at 10.1 per contest ... No Eagle has started all 15 games, but Dobbs and Strack are the only two to be in 14 starting lineups ... American owns the second-toughest scoring defense in the League right now at 55.0 points allowed per contest.
LAFAYETTE LEOPARDS (6-10, 0-1) AT ARMY BLACK KNIGHTS (7-9, 1-0)
Christl Arena (5,043); West Point, N.Y. Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Series: Army, 27-23
Streak: Army, One Win Last Meeting: Army, 58-36 (2.23.11)
Last Lafayette Win: 54-42 (1.26.11) Last Five Games: Army, 3-2
The teams boasting this week's Anaconda Patriot League Award winners will go toe to toe Wednesday night when Army and Player of the Week Anna Simmers hosts Rookie of the Week Emily Homan and Lafayette ... It's been an even series the last five outings, with Army owning a 3-2 edge in those matchups ... The teams split last season, with each winning on their own court.
LAFAYETTE Defending Patriot League champion Navy used a big second half to erase a double-digit deficit at halftime and rally for a 60-55 victory over Lafayette at Kirby Sports Center Saturday afternoon ... Emily Homan led the Leopards with 16 points, while Madeline Fahan added 12 ... Danielle Fiacco had six points, 10 rebounds and three blocks ... That last tally gives her 138 rejections for her career, placing her alone in 10th all-time in Patriot League history ... Lafayette opened a 30-14 lead late in the first half thanks to a 14-minute drought without a field goal for the Mids ... Lafayette still led Navy 30-18 at the break, but the Mids used a 10-0 run that spanned the end of the first and start of the second halves to make it a 30-24 game ... After Navy tied the game, Homan's layup capped off a 7-0 run for Lafayette that put the Leopards up 44-37, but Navy replied with a 16-0 run that proved decisive ... Lafayette cut the deficit to two twice, but Navy never relinquished the lead ... Homan was the only Patriot League freshman to score in double figures (16 points) in league play this past weekend ... Fiacco ranks second in career blocks at Lafayette - 22 shy of tying the all-time mark - and is seven blocks shy of matching the single-season standard of 74.
ARMY Junior Anna Simmers tallied a career-high 27 points, the highest output of any Patriot Leaguer this season, and Jen Hazlett poured in 19 as Army took a 67-64 win over Bucknell Saturday night at Sojka Pavilion ... The Black Knights overcame 21 points from Bucknell's Rachel Voss, while Shelby Romine dropped in 17 and Felicia Mgbada scored 12 ... Army snapped a seven-game skid with the win ... Army trailed 25-21 with 6:16 left in the first half, but Army closed on a 19-7 run and led 40-32 at the break ... The Black Knights extended the lead to 15 in the first minute of the second half, but the Bison scored the next eight points to prompt an Army timeout ... Bucknell whittled the lead down to 64-63 with 2:03 left after a layup from Mgbada, but Simmers' bucket with 30 seconds left put Army back up by three ... The teams traded one foul shot apiece to wrap up the game ... The Bison had the ball in the waning seconds, but could not get off a 3-point attempt ... Army finished 25 of 48 (52 percent) from the field, including 8 of 14 on 3-point attempts ... The team's 67 points against Bucknell were the most it's scored this season since putting up 71 in a win over Manhattanville Nov. 25 ... Hazlett has the team lead with 13.3 points and 7.2 rebounds per game, while Simmers is now second on the club with 11.9 ppg.
HOLY CROSS CRUSADERS (8-7, 0-1) AT NAVY MIDSHIPMEN (8-7, 1-0)
Alumni Hall (5,710); Annapolis, Md. Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Series: Holy Cross, 37-9
Streak: Navy, Four Wins Last Meeting: Navy, 73-68 (OT; 2.16.11)
Last Holy Cross Win: 67-58 (2.18.09) Last Five Games: Navy, 4-1
Two teams with identical overall records battle Wednesday at 7 p.m. when Navy hosts Holy Cross in the 47th all-time meeting between the two ... Navy has won four consecutive showdowns with the Crusaders, with Holy Cross' last win in the series coming in 2009 in Annapolis ... Both teams scored 60 points in their League openers Saturday, with Holy Cross falling 75-60 to Lehigh and Navy rallying for a 60-55 win at Lafayette.
HOLY CROSS Amy Lepley tied a career-high with 22 points and Alex Smith contributed 11, but Lehigh ran past Holy Cross 75-50 Saturday afternoon in Bethlehem ... Lepley grabbed a team-high eight rebounds, while freshman Emily Parker scored eight points with three boards ... The Crusaders shot 12 of 31 in both halves against the Mountain Hawks to finish 38.7 percent for the game ... Holy Cross posted 24 baskets with 20 assists, with Smith and Brisje Malone posting five dishes apiece ... Holy Cross was up 30-29 at halftime, but Lehigh shot 15 of 25 (60 percent) from the floor in the second half and 7 of 13 for the game on 3-point attempts ... With the game tied at 42, Lehigh went on a 14-3 run and took a 56-45 lead midway through the second half ... After having four players averaging in double figures for much of the season, just two are now over 10 points per game (Lepley and Smith) ... Holy Cross is 2-6 on the road this season and 3-6 away from the Hart Center.
NAVY Defending Patriot League champion Navy used a big second half to erase a double-digit deficit at halftime and rally for a 60-55 victory over Lafayette at Kirby Sports Center Saturday afternoon ... A pair of sophomores led the way for the Mids, as Audrey Bauer scored 16 of her 18 points in the second half and Kara Pollinger poured in 12 after the break to spark Navy's comeback ... The two tied for the game-high in points ... The Mids managed just 5-of-28 shooting in the first half and went without a field goal for just over 14 minutes before Jade Geif's layup in the final second made it a 30-18 game entering the locker room ... Navy started the second on an 18-6 spurt over the first six-plus minutes to tie the game at 36 after a 3-pointer from Bauer ... Emily Homan's layup a few minutes later capped off a 7-0 Leopard run to make it 44-37, but the Mids orchestrated a 16-0 run that spanned six minutes to move ahead 53-44 with 4:20 left ... Lafayette cut the deficit to two twice, but Navy never relinquished the lead ... Alix Membreno finished with a career-high 15 rebounds, one game after scoring a career-best 24 against NJIT last Tuesday.
BUCKNELL BISON (2-14, 0-1) AT COLGATE RAIDERS (3-13, 0-1)
Cotterell Court (3,100); Hamilton, N.Y. Wednesday, 7 p.m.
Series: Bucknell, 37-19
Streak: Bucknell, Two Wins Last Meeting: Bucknell, 79-64 (2.19.11)
Last Colgate Win: 62-58 (2.20.2010) Last Five Games: Bucknell, 4-1
Army and Bucknell battled in the quarterfinals of last season's Patriot League Tournament and the two will get right back to it when they meet to open the 2011-12 regular-season League slate Saturday evening ... The Bison have won three straight meetings, four of the last five and own a 31-17 lead in the all-time series.
BUCKNELL Junior Anna Simmers tallied a career-high 27 points, the highest output of any Patriot Leaguer this season, and Jen Hazlett poured in 19 as Army took a 67-64 win over Bucknell Saturday night at Sojka Pavilion ... Rachel Voss led Bucknell with 21 points, while Shelby Romine dropped in 17 and Felicia Mgbada had 12 in one of Bucknell's most consistent offensive performances of the season ... Bucknell took a 25-21 lead with 6:16 left in the first half, but Army closed on a 19-7 run and led 40-32 at the break ... After Army extended the lead to 15 in the opening minute of the second half, Bucknell went on an 8-0 run that forced a timeout ... The Bison continued chipping away and came within 64-63 with 2:03 to go after a layup from Mgbada ... Simmers scored with 30 seconds left to put Army up three ... The teams traded one free throw the rest of the game ... Bucknell had possession with time ticking down but could not get off a clean 3-point attempt to tie ... Bucknell finished shooting 27 of 52 overall (51 percent) and 5 of 10 on treys.
COLGATE Mariah Jones and Jhazmine Lynch paced Colgate with nine points apiece, while Kelly Korkowski and Kelly Reid each grabbed six rebounds in the Raiders' 56-43 loss Saturday to visiting American ... Alexis Dobbs scored a game-high 15 points and Ebony Edwards had a season-best 10 to pace the Eagles ... American shot nearly 47 percent in the first half (14 of 30) and took a 31-23 lead into halftime ... Colgate owned an early 9-7 lead but American used an 11-0 run to move ahead 18-9 just over midway through the first half ... American opened the second half with a 12-2 spurt that gave it a 43-25 lead at the 15:12 mark, and led by as many as 19 shortly thereafter before cruising to the 13-point victory ... Colgate managed just five field goals in the second half, shooting 5 of 21 (23.8 percent) and finishing just 2 of 11 from beyond the arc ... Lynch remains atop the League standings averaging 13.7 points per game ... She's the only Raider averaging in double figures.