Patriot League Women's Basketball Semifinals Preview - 3.4.12

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG Alex Smith and No. 5 Holy Cross visit top-seeded American in the Patriot League Tournament Semifinals Monday night.
PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG
Alex Smith and No. 5 Holy Cross visit top-seeded American in the Patriot League Tournament Semifinals Monday night.
PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG

March 4, 2012

2012 Patriot League Women's Basketball Tournament Central

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — The 2012 Patriot League Tournament began Thursday with three of the four host teams picking up quarterfinal victories to set up Monday’s semifinal contests.

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The top two seeds held serve as American survived a 59-54 battle against No. 8 Lafayette in the nation’s capital, while second-seed Lehigh, which captured that coveted spot with a victory on the last day of the regular season, cruised to a 63-47 victory over No. 7 Bucknell.

Those two teams are hosting Monday’s semifinal contests, as the Mountain Hawks welcome defending champion and third-seeded Navy, which was a 66-54 victor Thursday night over sixth-seeded Colgate in Annapolis, Md. Meanwhile, the Eagles will meet No. 5 Holy Cross, the only team to pick up a quarterfinal win on the road Thursday night. The Crusaders battled fourth-seeded Army before scoring a 59-50 win at West Point.

American is riding a program-best 15-game win streak and hasn’t suffered a defeat since early January. Since then, the Eagles ran the table in League play with a 14-0 mark and collected Thursday’s quarterfinal win. Each of the Eagles’ last five wins have come by five points or less, and coincidentally their last victory by double digits was a 67-47 triumph over Holy Cross Feb. 11.

After dropping four out of five during a very emotional stretch of the season, Lehigh has won four straight entering Monday’s contest with the Mids. The Mountain Hawks swept the season series against the defending champions and have won four of five overall against Navy, but the two games during the regular season were very close affairs. Lehigh erased a double-digit halftime deficit in Annapolis to scratch out a four-point win, then collected a nine-point triumph at home in the rematch.

Should the top two seeds prevail, it would set up a rematch of the 2010 championship game. American is aiming for its third straight championship game appearance, while the Mountain Hawks, who won back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010, are seeking their third trip to the title contest in the last four years.

Patriot League Tournament Notebook

THREE OF FOUR HOME TEAMS WIN
Three of the four home teams for Thursday’s quarterfinals of the Patriot League Tournament picked up victories to move on to Monday’s semifinals. The top three seeds all collected victories, with American, Lehigh and Navy advancing. Holy Cross was the only road team to capture a win Thursday, going to West Point and taking a 59-50 victory over No. 4 seed Army. The higher seeds have hosted all rounds of the Patriot League Tournament two years in a row, and in the last eight quarterfinal games the home team has posted seven wins.

AMERICAN GETS TOUGH TEST FROM LAFAYETTE
American and Lafayette went toe-to-toe Thursday night in the tournament quarterfinals, much like they had done just five days earlier in the regular-season finale in Easton, Pa. American rallied for a victory there, and the Eagles came out on top again Thursday at home with a 59-54 triumph. The Leopards were looking to become just the second No. 8 seed to upset the No. 1 team in the quarterfinals. The only other time it’s happened was 2007, when eighth-seeded Colgate upended No. 1 Bucknell, 69-62, on a neutral floor at Navy.

NO. 2 VS. NO. 3
When Lehigh hosts Navy Monday night at Stabler Arena, it will mark the third straight season in which the Nos. 2 and 3 seeds will battle it out in the tournament semifinals, the first such streak since it occurred four consecutive years from 1995-98. The No. 2 seed had won six consecutive semifinal meetings against the third seed before No. 3 American upended Lehigh 69-64 in overtime in last season’s tournament at Stabler Arena. In 13 meetings overall, the No. 2 seed is 9-4 against the third-seeded team in the semifinals.

NO. 1 VS. NO. 5
Monday’s American-Holy Cross matchup will be the fourth in five years to feature the No. 1 seed going against the fifth seed in the semifinals, and it’s the second in three years to feature the Crusaders. In 2010 Holy Cross, as the No. 5 seed, defeated fourth seed Army in the quarters to advance to take on top-seeded Lehigh in the semifinals. The No. 1 seed is 4-1 in those last five meetings against the No. 5 seed in the semifinals, including a four-game win streak. No. 5 Bucknell’s upset of No. 1 American in 2008 (60-52) is the exception. Overall the 1 vs. 5 matchup has happened 15 times, with the top seed owning a 12-3 edge.

LOOKING TO MAKE IT THREE STRAIGHT
American and Lehigh both swept their regular-season series against Holy Cross and Navy, respectively, and will be looking to make it three straight victories over their opponents on Monday. American won 61-58 at Holy Cross and 67-47 at home against the Crusaders, while Lehigh was a 50-46 winner in Annapolis and took a 57-48 victory in the rematch in the second leg of League play.

PATRIOT LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP ON CBS SPORTS NETWORK
Two Patriot League contests have already been televised by CBS Sports Network, with Navy sweeping the season series from Army with victories of 58-56 in Annapolis and 57-50 at West Point. The third League game scheduled to air on CBS Sports Network is the biggest showdown of the year, as the Patriot League Championship game will be televised on March 10 at 6 p.m. Bob Socci will handle the play-by-play and Leah Secondo will provide the analysis.

ALL-ACCESS HAS YOU COVERED
Patriot League All-Access has had fans covered throughout the regular season, and that will be no different during Monday’s semifinals in the League Tournament. Both the American-Holy Cross and Lehigh-Navy tilts will be streamed via All-Access, and they will be the last two games available this season online. Saturday’s championship game is exclusive to CBS Sports Network. A monthly subscription costs $7.95, while a yearly pass, which includes access to upcoming spring championships and archived championships from the fall, costs $19.95. For more, visit http://www.patriotleague.org/allaccess.

GRATCH REACHES 500 BOARDS
Emily Gratch scored her 1,000th career point earlier this season, and with six rebounds in Thursday’s quarterfinal triumph over Bucknell she has now amassed 500 boards for her career at Lehigh. She became the 68th student-athlete in Patriot League history to reach that benchmark. She and American senior guard Lisa Strack are the only two League players this season to reach 1,000 career points, while Gratch and senior teammate Alexa Williams are the only two players with 500 or more career rebounds.

HOME TEAMS FINISH STRONG
Home teams during Patriot League play went 3-1 for the second consecutive day Saturday, finishing with a 32-24 overall edge in the 56 League contests in the 2011-12 League season. The .571 win percentage ties for sixth-best since American joined to expand the League to eight teams for the 2001-02 season. Home teams went 36-20 in 2006-07 for a .643 win percentage, the highest in the past 11 seasons. A full list of home teams’ records in League play since 2001-02 is below:
.643 - 2006-07 (36-20)
.626 - 2004-05 (35-21)
.607 - 2005-06, 2001-02 (34-22)
.589 - 2009-10 (33-23)
.571 - 2003-04, 2011-12 (32-24)
.554 - 2002-03 (31-25)
.536 - 2008-09, 2010-11 (30-26)
.446 - 2007-08 (25-31)

NAVY AIMS TO REPEAT
Defending Patriot League champion Navy held court as the No. 1 seed in last year’s League Tournament, and American will look to do the same in 2012. But if the Mids are to be the first repeat Patriot League champion since Lehigh went back-to-back in 2009 and again in 2010, they will have to do it as the No. 3 seed. The last third seed to win the League title was Holy Cross in 2007. That year the Crusaders defeated Lafayette, Lehigh and American en route to the championship.

ALL IN A WEEK’S WORK
It was a big seven-day stretch for American senior guard Lisa Strack. She scored 19 points Feb. 22, including the 1,000th of her career, in the Eagles’ 62-59 win at Bucknell. On Feb. 25 she logged a double-double and scored six straight points late in the second half to propel American to a 58-54 win at Lafayette to cap off a 14-0 League record for the Eagles. Last Tuesday, her whirlwind seven days were completed when she was named Patriot League Player of the Year and earned one of five slots on the All-Patriot League First Team. Strack leads American with 11.6 points per game this season, and her average increased to 12.9 per game during 14 League contests. She leads the League in steals both in all games (2.7) and during League competition (3.3).

AMERICAN’S MASSIVE AWARDS HAUL
Not only did American senior guard Lisa Strack capture the Patriot League Player of the Year nod, but three other major awards also went to members of the team. Senior guard Ebony Edwards was named Defensive Player of the Year, Matt Corkery was honoerd as Coach of the Year and sophomore guard Alexis Dobbs was named Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Edwards is the first Eagle named Defensive Player of the Year since the award’s inception in 2004-05, while Corkery captured his second Coach of the Year trophy in three seasons. Dobbs is the school’s first Scholar-Athlete of the Year in women’s basketball since Liz Hayes garnered the honor in consecutive seasons in 2006-07 and 2007-08.

HOMAN’S RISE NETS ROOKIE TROPHY
Lafayette freshman forward Emily Homan was named Patriot League Rookie of the Year by the eight head coaches Tuesday morning. A native of Upper Darby, Pa., Homan’s development has been evidence since day one. She has five double-doubles on the season entering Thursday, including four achieved during League games. Homan leads all League freshman in scoring and rebounds, and sits seventh in the League in the former category (11.8 ppg) and sixth in the latter (7.1 rpg). Her 44.6 percent field goal shooting is fifth best in the League, while her 56 blocks and her 1.9 blocks-per-game average both rank second. Homan is just the second Leopard ever named Patriot League Rookie of the Year and the first since Christel Rocha in 1997-98. Homan was also one of the five members of the All-Rookie team.

300, 400 AND 500
Three head coaches in the Patriot League have reached significant victory milestones this season. Navy’s Stefanie Pemper was the latest to do it, as the Mids collected a 63-47 victory over visiting Lafayette on Feb. 4. That was the 300th overall victory for Pemper, who is in her fourth season in Annapolis and 14th overall. She is 65-51 at Navy and owns a 31-19 mark in Patriot League games. The other two coaches to hit milestones this year are Army’s Dave Magarity, who collected career win No. 400 Nov. 16 in the Black Knights’ 59-43 triumph at St. Francis (N.Y.), and Bill Gibbons of Holy Cross. The Crusaders’ 61-50 victory at New Hampshire was the 500th win of his career, which is now in its 27th season.

Patriot League Tournament Semifinals

NO. 5 HOLY CROSS CRUSADERS (17-13, 7-7) AT NO. 1 AMERICAN EAGLES (23-6, 14-0)
Bender Arena (3,044); Washington, D.C. • Monday, 7 p.m.
Series: Holy Cross, 14-12
Streak: American, Seven Wins Last Meeting: American, 67-47 (2.11.12)
Last Holy Cross Win: 58-55 (2.21.09) Last Five Games: American, 5-0
PL Tournament Series: Holy Cross, 2-1 PLT Streak: American, One Win
Last PLT Meeting: American, 72-44 (3.5.11) Last Holy Cross PLT Win vs. AU: 56-48 (3.7.07)

American and Holy Cross will meet for the fourth time ever in the Patriot League Tournament when the two square off Monday at 7 p.m. at Bender Arena ... It will mark the first semifinal meeting in the League Tournament for the two programs, as they have met in the quarters (2006, 2011) and in the championship (2007) ... The series was 14-5 in favor of Holy Cross at one point, but the Eagles have captured seven straight meetings dating back to the 2009-10 season ... The last time the top seed in the tournament fell in the semifinals came in 2008, when fifth-seeded Bucknell handed No. 1 American a 60-52 loss in a game played on a neutral floor at Army ... The Bison went on to defeat Holy Cross in the championship game.

AMERICAN In a back-and-forth affair with nine ties and 11 lead changes, top-seeded American held on for a 59-54 victory over No. 8 Lafayette in the Patriot League Tournament Quarterfinals at Bender Arena Thursday night ... A pair of first-team All-Patriot League players came up big for the Eagles, as Player of the Year Lisa Strack scored a game-high 19 points and Alexis Dobbs added 17 ... The two players combined to shoot just under 50 percent from the floor (11 of 23), while eight of Strack’s points came from the foul line ... Danielle Fiacco had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds off the bench of the Leopards, while Patriot League Rookie of the Year Emily Homan also added 12 points ... Fiacco collected a pair of blocks to finish with a League single-season record of 112 ... Melissa Downey sank a pair of free throws to give Lafayette a 50-49 lead with 5:24 left before Dobbs’ 3-pointer 17 seconds later gave the Eagles a 52-50 advantage ... It was the start of seven straight American points, with Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year Ebony Edwards contributing on the offensive side as well with an offensive rebound and a made jumper to put American ahead 56-50 with three minutes left ... Homan’s layup with 1:29 on the clock cut American’s lead to 57-54, and the Leopards had the ball with less than a minute to go after Stephanie Anya missed two free throws ... But Dobbs came up with another big play, this time drawing a charge by Lafayette freshman Linnel Macklin to short circuited the upset-minded Leopards ... Lafayette had the ball again as time ticked inside 10 seconds with the score still 57-54, but Ti’Asia McGeorge came up with a key block, Strack grabbed the rebound, was fouled and drained a pair of free throws in the final seconds to ice the game ... Both teams shot over 40 percent for the game, with the Eagles at 41.2 percent and the Leopards at 40.4 percent. Lafayette dominated the glass, 37-27, including winning the offensive board battle 13-9.

HOLY CROSS Christine Ganser scored 17 points and did not miss a shot as No. 5 Holy Cross posted a 59-50 victory at fourth-seeded Army Thursday night at Christl Arena ... Ganser shot 6 of 6 from the field, including making her one lone attempt from beyond the arc and going a perfect 4 of 4 from the foul line ... Amy Lepley had 10 points and five boards to help pace Holy Cross, while Alex Smith had seven points, five rebounds and five assists ... Anna Simmers led Army with 13 points but shot just 3 of 17 from the floor ... Jen Hazlett and Olivia Schretzman pitched in 10 points apiece ... Hazlett also had a game-high eight rebounds ... Holy Cross scored the first six points of the game and led by as many as seven on three different occasions in the first half before taking a 24-19 lead into the break ... Army scored the first four points of the second half to pull within 24-23 inside two minutes in ... Ashley Cooper’s 3-pointer gave Holy Cross a five-point lead, and Ganser hit two free throws to extend the lead to 36-29 with 11:29 left ... Alex Smith drained a trey of her own to put Holy Cross ahead 42-33 with 9:29 on the clock. That was the Crusaders’ biggest lead of the game ... Holy Cross maintained a lead anywhere between six and eight points for the next several minutes ... Hazlett’s jumper from the paint fell to bring Army within 48-43 with 5:27 showing on the clock ... As it turned out, that was the closest the Black Knights would get the rest of the way ... Holy Cross maintained a lead anywhere between six and eight points for most of the rest of the way before Meredith Ward’s layup with 38 seconds to go created the final tally ... Holy Cross rebounded from an 0-for-9 showing on 3-pointers in the first half by hitting 4 of 12 in the final 20 minutes ... After shooting 3 of 9 on treys in the first, Army missed its three tries in the second ... Army won the battle of the boards 37-31, including 11-6 on the offensive glass ... Holy Cross advances to the semifinals for the first time since 2010, when it also defeated Army in the quarters.

NO. 3 NAVY MIDSHIPMEN (16-13, 8-6) AT NO. 2 LEHIGH MOUNTAIN HAWKS (17-12, 9-5)
Stabler Arena (5,600); Bethlehem, Pa. • Monday, 7 p.m.
Series: Lehigh, 26-21 TV: Service Electric Channel 2
Streak: Lehigh, Three Wins Last Meeting: Lehigh, 57-48 (2.22.12)
Last Navy Win: 63-62 (1.12.11) Last Five Games: Lehigh, 4-1
PL Tournament Series: Lehigh, 1-0 PLT Streak: Lehigh, One Win
Last PLT Meeting: Lehigh, 70-62 (3.2.97) Last Navy PLT Win vs. LU: N/A

Lehigh and Navy have had their share of tight regular-season battles over the last few seasons, but Monday will mark just the second time ever the two have faced off in the Patriot League Tournament and first matchup in 15 years ... The last time the two met in the postseason was March 2, 1997, when No. 3 Lehigh scored a 70-62 victory over the second-seeded Mids in the semifinals ... The Mountain Hawks went on to win their first Patriot League title with an overtime victory against Lafayette in the finals ... Navy rebounded with championship game appearances in each of the next two seasons following that semifinal loss to Lehigh.

NAVY Kara Pollinger and Jade Geif tied for the team lead with 14 points apiece and Navy used a late run to dispatch of seventh-seeded Colgate 66-54 Thursday night at Alumni Hall ... Geif collected eight rebounds, one shy of the team lead held by guard Alix Membreno ... Erin Edwards also chipped in 11 points for the Mids, who will visit No. 2 Lehigh Monday night at 7 p.m. ... Navy overcame a 22-point, 10-rebound double-double performance by Colgate senior and second-team All-League selection Tricia Oakes ... Lauryn Kobiela tallied 11 points on 5-of-11 shooting for the Raiders, who went just 1 of 15 from beyond the arc ... Navy finished the game on an 11-4 run to pull away after the Mids jumped out to early leads of 11-6 and 24-11 ... Navy’s lead grew to 32-13 before the Raiders closed the first half on an 8-2 stretch to cut it to 34-21 at halftime ... The Mids sank six of their first 10 opportunities in the second half and the lead ballooned to 48-29 with 14:30 remaining ... Colgate wasn’t done yet, as it scored 14 straight points to whittle the gap down to 48-41 with just inside eight minutes to play ... Chantel Lavender’s 3-pointer helped put Navy by double digits again at 53-43 with seven minutes to go ... Two free throws from Jhazmine Lynch had Colgate within 55-50 at the 3:36 mark ... But the Mids replied with back-to-back buckets from Geif and Pollinger to make it a 59-50 game, putting the contest out of reach ... Navy has advanced to the semifinals of the League Tournament four straight years, including twice as the No. 3 seed ... The Mids were the sixth seed in 2009, the top seed in 2011 and the No. 3 seed in 2010 ... Those four consecutive quarterfinal victories have come during the coaching tenure of Stefanie Pemper.

LEHIGH Kelly Peterson led three Mountain Hawks in double figures with 13 points as No. 2 seed Lehigh posted a 63-47 victory over seventh-seeded Bucknell to advance to the Patriot League Tournament Semifinals Monday night ... Emily Gratch had 12 points and six rebounds, giving her 500 boards for her career, and Alexa Williams scored 10 points with six rebounds and a block to help the Mountain Hawks in the front court ... Bucknell’s Shelby Romine led all scorers with 16 points on 6-of-12 shootings and 4 of 5 from the 3-point line ... Lehigh worked the inside to a 42-22 advantage in points in the paint while also holding a 13-4 lead in fast break points ... Romine hit the first of her four 3s on the night to put Bucknell in front 9-4 at the first media timeout of the first half ... Felicia Mgbada’s layup put the Bison ahead 18-15 at the 7:13 mark, but those were the last points they would manage in the half ... Lehigh closed out on an 11-0 run to take a 26-18 lead at the break ... It became a 15-0 run when Katie O’Reilly and Peterson hit back-to-back layups for the Mountain Hawks, forcing a Bucknell timeout ... But it didn’t take long for Lehigh to build its biggest lead of the game to that point at 42-22 with 13 minutes left after a jumper from senior Aly Byorick ... Bucknell posted an 8-0 run over the next minute and a half to cut it to a 42-30 deficit, but Lehigh slowly rebuilt a 17-point advantage with seven minutes left at 53-36 ... Gratch’s layup just inside the four-minute mark put Lehigh ahead 61-39 before cruising to the victory ... The Bison finished 7 of 13 on 3-point attempts and went 20 of 51 from the field for the game ... Lehigh shot just 2 of 9 on treys but was 25 of 50 from the floor ... Lehigh also dominated the glass to a 35-22 advantage ... The Mountain Hawks have advanced to the semifinals six straight years.

Team Notebooks

ARMY Christine Ganser scored 17 points and did not miss a shot as No. 5 Holy Cross posted a 59-50 victory at fourth-seeded Army Thursday night at Christl Arena ... Ganser shot 6 of 6 from the field, including making her one lone attempt from beyond the arc and going a perfect 4 of 4 from the foul line ... Amy Lepley had 10 points and five boards to help pace Holy Cross, while Alex Smith had seven points, five rebounds and five assists ... Anna Simmers led Army with 13 points but shot just 3 of 17 from the floor ... Jen Hazlett and Olivia Schretzman pitched in 10 points apiece ... Hazlett also had a game-high eight rebounds ... Holy Cross scored the first six points of the game and led by as many as seven on three different occasions in the first half before taking a 24-19 lead into the break ... Army scored the first four points of the second half to pull within 24-23 inside two minutes in ... Ashley Cooper’s 3-pointer gave Holy Cross a five-point lead, and Ganser hit two free throws to extend the lead to 36-29 with 11:29 left ... Alex Smith drained a trey of her own to put Holy Cross ahead 42-33 with 9:29 on the clock. That was the Crusaders’ biggest lead of the game ... Holy Cross maintained a lead anywhere between six and eight points for the next several minutes ... Hazlett’s jumper from the paint fell to bring Army within 48-43 with 5:27 showing on the clock ... As it turned out, that was the closest the Black Knights would get the rest of the way ... Holy Cross maintained a lead anywhere between six and eight points for most of the rest of the way before Meredith Ward’s layup with 38 seconds to go created the final tally ... Holy Cross rebounded from an 0-for-9 showing on 3-pointers in the first half by hitting 4 of 12 in the final 20 minutes ... After shooting 3 of 9 on treys in the first, Army missed its three tries in the second ... Army won the battle of the boards 37-31, including 11-6 on the offensive glass ... Holy Cross advances to the semifinals for the first time since 2010, when it also defeated Army in the quarters ... Army finishes its season 14-16 overall.

BUCKNELL Kelly Peterson led three Mountain Hawks in double figures with 13 points as No. 2 seed Lehigh posted a 63-47 victory over seventh-seeded Bucknell to advance to the Patriot League Tournament Semifinals Monday night ... Emily Gratch had 12 points and six rebounds, giving her 500 boards for her career, and Alexa Williams scored 10 points with six rebounds and a block to help the Mountain Hawks in the front court ... Bucknell’s Shelby Romine led all scorers with 16 points on 6-of-12 shootings and 4 of 5 from the 3-point line ... Lehigh worked the inside to a 42-22 advantage in points in the paint while also holding a 13-4 lead in fast break points ... Romine hit the first of her four 3s on the night to put Bucknell in front 9-4 at the first media timeout of the first half ... Felicia Mgbada’s layup put the Bison ahead 18-15 at the 7:13 mark, but those were the last points they would manage in the half ... Lehigh closed out on an 11-0 run to take a 26-18 lead at the break ... It became a 15-0 run when Katie O’Reilly and Peterson hit back-to-back layups for the Mountain Hawks, forcing a Bucknell timeout ... But it didn’t take long for Lehigh to build its biggest lead of the game to that point at 42-22 with 13 minutes left after a jumper from senior Aly Byorick ... Bucknell posted an 8-0 run over the next minute and a half to cut it to a 42-30 deficit, but Lehigh slowly rebuilt a 17-point advantage with seven minutes left at 53-36 ... Gratch’s layup just inside the four-minute mark put Lehigh ahead 61-39 before cruising to the victory ... The Bison finished 7 of 13 on 3-point attempts and went 20 of 51 from the field for the game ... Lehigh shot just 2 of 9 on treys but was 25 of 50 from the floor ... Lehigh also dominated the glass to a 35-22 advantage ... The Mountain Hawks have advanced to the semifinals six straight years ... Bucknell finishes 2011-12 with a 5-25 record.

COLGATE Kara Pollinger and Jade Geif tied for the team lead with 14 points apiece and Navy used a late run to dispatch of seventh-seeded Colgate 66-54 Thursday night at Alumni Hall ... Geif collected eight rebounds, one shy of the team lead held by guard Alix Membreno ... Erin Edwards also chipped in 11 points for the Mids, who will visit No. 2 Lehigh Monday night at 7 p.m. ... Navy overcame a 22-point, 10-rebound double-double performance by Colgate senior and second-team All-League selection Tricia Oakes ... Lauryn Kobiela tallied 11 points on 5-of-11 shooting for the Raiders, who went just 1 of 15 from beyond the arc ... Navy finished the game on an 11-4 run to pull away after the Mids jumped out to early leads of 11-6 and 24-11 ... Navy’s lead grew to 32-13 before the Raiders closed the first half on an 8-2 stretch to cut it to 34-21 at halftime ... The Mids sank six of their first 10 opportunities in the second half and the lead ballooned to 48-29 with 14:30 remaining ... Colgate wasn’t done yet, as it scored 14 straight points to whittle the gap down to 48-41 with just inside eight minutes to play ... Chantel Lavender’s 3-pointer helped put Navy by double digits again at 53-43 with seven minutes to go ... Two free throws from Jhazmine Lynch had Colgate within 55-50 at the 3:36 mark ... But the Mids replied with back-to-back buckets from Geif and Pollinger to make it a 59-50 game, putting the contest out of reach ... Navy has advanced to the semifinals of the League Tournament four straight years, including twice as the No. 3 seed ... The Mids were the sixth seed in 2009, the top seed in 2011 and the No. 3 seed in 2010 ... Those four consecutive quarterfinal victories have come during the coaching tenure of Stefanie Pemper ... Colgate ends its season 8-22 under first-year head coach Nicci Hays Fort.

LAFAYETTE In a back-and-forth affair with nine ties and 11 lead changes, top-seeded American held on for a 59-54 victory over No. 8 Lafayette in the Patriot League Tournament Quarterfinals at Bender Arena Thursday night ... A pair of first-team All-Patriot League players came up big for the Eagles, as Player of the Year Lisa Strack scored a game-high 19 points and Alexis Dobbs added 17 ... The two players combined to shoot just under 50 percent from the floor (11 of 23), while eight of Strack’s points came from the foul line ... Danielle Fiacco had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds off the bench of the Leopards, while Patriot League Rookie of the Year Emily Homan also added 12 points ... Fiacco collected a pair of blocks to finish with a League single-season record of 112 ... Melissa Downey sank a pair of free throws to give Lafayette a 50-49 lead with 5:24 left before Dobbs’ 3-pointer 17 seconds later gave the Eagles a 52-50 advantage ... It was the start of seven straight American points, with Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year Ebony Edwards contributing on the offensive side as well with an offensive rebound and a made jumper to put American ahead 56-50 with three minutes left ... Homan’s layup with 1:29 on the clock cut American’s lead to 57-54, and the Leopards had the ball with less than a minute to go after Stephanie Anya missed two free throws ... But Dobbs came up with another big play, this time drawing a charge by Lafayette freshman Linnel Macklin to short circuited the upset-minded Leopards ... Lafayette had the ball again as time ticked inside 10 seconds with the score still 57-54, but Ti’Asia McGeorge came up with a key block, Strack grabbed the rebound, was fouled and drained a pair of free throws in the final seconds to ice the game ... Both teams shot over 40 percent for the game, with the Eagles at 41.2 percent and the Leopards at 40.4 percent. Lafayette dominated the glass, 37-27, including winning the offensive board battle 13-9 ... Lafayette finishes up Dianne Nolan’s second season in Easton with an 8-22 mark.