March 15, 2013
Patriot League Women's Basketball Championship Preview - 3.15.13
2013 Women's Basketball Tournament Central
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — For the second year in a row, Navy will host Holy Cross with the Patriot League championship on the line and a berth in the NCAA Tournament at stake when the teams clash Saturday at 6 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. Bob Socci will handle the play-by-play, and Chris Spatola the analysis.
After two teams pulled off upsets in the Patriot League Tournament quarterfinals, the second-seeded Mids and No. 4 seed Crusaders made sure history did not repeat itself in the semifinals. Navy built a double-digit halftime lead, withstood a Bucknell run and pulled away from the Bison for a 60-48 win in the semifinals on Monday, while Holy Cross jumped out to a 24-2 lead and cruised to a 59-38 victory over Colgate.
Ironically, both Holy Cross and Navy won semifinal contests on the road a year ago to advance to the championship.
Saturday marks just the second time in League history the fourth seed has made it to the championship game (American, 2007). On the other side, Navy is the 12th No. 2 seed to advance to the title contest.
PATRIOT LEAGUE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP QUICK HITS
• 2012-13 marks the first time in League history every team has at least 10 wins.
• The No. 2 seed is 2-9 all-time in the championship game, but 1-1 when taking on a seed other than the No. 1.
• The No. 4 seed is 0-1 in the championship game, with American dropping a 56-48 decision to third seed Holy Cross in 2007.
• Navy and Holy Cross are meeting for the eighth time in the tournament and fourth in the championship game. The Crusaders lead 6-1 all-time and 2-1 in title contests.
• The higher seed has won 20 of the previous 22 Patriot League title games. The only years the lower seed has won are 2002, when No. 2 Bucknell defeated top seed Holy Cross 88-74, and 2008, when the fifth-seeded Bison upset the No. 2 seed Crusaders 57-45.
• Navy is 13-2 at home this season, while Holy Cross has a 9-7 mark on the road.
• The Mids swept the season series between the two, winning 60-47 in Worcester, Mass., on Jan. 16 and 59-35 in Annapolis, Md., on Feb. 13. Navy outrebounded Holy Cross 97-65 across the two games.
• Saturday marks the third stretch in which the same teams have matched up for the championship in consecutive years. It also happened in 1997-98 when Holy Cross and Navy went toe-to-toe, and from 1993-95, when the Crusaders matched up with Fordham.
Patriot League Championship Notebook
PATRIOT LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP ON CBS SPORTS NETWORK
The most important Patriot League game of the season will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network Saturday when No. 2 seed Navy welcomes fourth-seeded Holy Cross to Alumni Hall. Tip off is scheduled for 6 p.m. Bob Socci will have the call and Chris Spatola the analysis. The winner captures the League crown and an automatic berth in next weekend’s NCAA Tournament. First round games are Saturday-Sunday, March 23-24.
BETTER SEEDS DOMINATE THE CHAMPIONSHIP...
Saturday marks the 23rd Patriot League championship game in women’s basketball, and the better seed has dominated to this point. The higher-seeded team has won 20 of the previous 22 title tilts, including last year when third-seeded Navy won 57-48 over No. 5 Holy Cross. The two years in which the lower seed won in the championship game were 2002 (No. 2 Bucknell over No. 1 Holy Cross 88-74) and 2008 (No. 5 Bucknell 57, No. 2 Holy Cross 45).
...AND AT HOME
The 2012-13 Navy squad is the 22nd in history to host the Patriot League championship game. Playing at home has been kind to the better seeds in the tournament, where the hosts are 19-2 all-time. Just as above, Bucknell played the role of spoiler in both 2002 and 2008. The one year in which the better seed did not host the championship game was 1992, when No. 1 Fordham defeated second seed Lafayette at a neutral floor in Bethlehem, Pa.
A FIRST IN 23 YEARS
There aren’t many firsts left to achieve after 23 years of competition, but Saturday marks the first time the Nos. 2 and 4 seeds are competing for the Patriot League championship. It’s only the second time the No. 4 seed has advanced this far (American, 2007).
HOLY CROSS, NAVY REVERSE COURSE IN SEMIS
A season ago Holy Cross and Navy had to win their semifinal contests on the road in order to advance to the championship. It marked the first time since 1997 that both lower seeds pulled off the upsets in that round. The Crusaders downed top-seeded American 67-52, while the Mids went into Bethlehem, Pa., and upended No. 2 Lehigh 64-59. This season was the exact opposite, as No. 2 Navy and fourth seed Holy Cross held serve on their home courts. Teams that host semifinal games are now 12-9 all-time in the tournament.
FIRST IS A GOOD PLACE TO BE
Does it matter being in first place at the turn? Navy entered the second leg of League play in first place at 6-1 for the second time in the last three years before finishing with an 11-3 mark. The Mids claimed the first of their two straight titles in 2011 after hitting the turn with just one League loss, and they hope this year’s result is exactly the same. Five of the last 10 League champions were at least tied for first place at the turn, but only two since 2006: Navy (2011) and Lehigh (2009). Holy Cross (2003, 2005) and Colgate (2004) were also no worse than tied for first at the midway point before capturing the League crown that March.
ARMY AWAITS WNIT FATE
Despite falling in the Patriot League Quarterfinals, Army will have a postseason destination. As the tournament’s No. 1 seed, the Black Knights earned an automatic berth to the WNIT, which will announce its 64-team field Monday, March 18 after the NCAA’s field of 64 is revealed. Last season was historic for the League in that three teams qualified for the postseason, with Navy going to the NCAA Tournament, American to the WNIT and Holy Cross to the WBI.
DOBBS DOES IT AGAIN
American junior guard Alexis Dobbs was named the Scholar-Athlete of the Year in women’s basketball for the second straight season, becoming the third straight student-athlete to capture the nod in consecutive years. American’s Liz Hayes did it in 2007 and ‘08 before Army’s Erin Anthony captured three consecutive trophies from 2009-11. Dobbs made history earlier this season as American women’s basketball’s first two-time first-team CoSIDA/Capital One Academic All-District selection. She and teammate Jen Dumiak, who also earned first-team Academic All-District honors, were both named to the Academic All-League team.
ON TWITTER, TOO
Fans and media members can follow Patriot League women’s basketball on Twitter - @PL_WBB.
Patriot League Championship
#4 HOLY CROSS CRUSADERS (18-13, 8-6) AT #2 NAVY MIDSHIPMEN (20-11, 11-3)
Alumni Hall (5,710); Annapolis, Md. • Saturday, 6 p.m.
Series: Holy Cross, 38-13 TV: CBS Sports Network (Bob Socci, Chris Spatola)
Streak: Navy, 4 Last Meeting: Navy, 59-35 (Annapolis, Md.; 2.13.13)
Last Holy Cross Win: 55-38 (Annapolis, Md.; 1.11.12) Last Five Games: Navy, 4-1
Last PLT Meeting: Navy, 57-48 (3.10.12) PLT Series: Holy Cross, 6-1 Last HC PLT Win vs. Navy: 67-53 (3.8.08)
• The programs will meet for the 52nd time overall, seventh in the Patriot League Tournament and fourth in the championship game (1997, 1998, 2012).
• The Crusaders are seeking their 12th tournament crown in their 17th appearance in the championship contest.
• Navy is 2-2 all-time in the title game, having won each of the last two championships.
• Holy Cross is 42-11 all-time in the tournament; Navy is 19-19.
• The Mids have won eight straight tournament contests, the longest streak since Holy Cross won 10 in a row from 1998-2002.
• Navy aims to become the League’s second program to win three straight titles, joining Holy Cross (1998-2001).
• The Mids have won nine of the last 11 meetings with Holy Cross after the Crusaders captured 11 in a row in the series.
HOLY CROSS Amy Lepley scored a game-high 19 points and two teammates reached double figures as fourth-seeded Holy Cross advanced to the Patriot League title game for the second straight year with a 59-38 win over No. 8 Colgate in Monday’s tournament semifinal at the Hart Center ... Alex Smith added 11 points for the Crusaders, and Brisje Malone 10 ... Raquel Scott hauled down a game-best 14 rebounds in 20 minutes off the bench ... Jhazmine Lynch, Lulu Brase and Josie Stockill scored eight points each for the Raiders, who shot just 20.7 percent (12-for-58) for the game, and 5-for-28 in the first half ... Randyll Butler hauled down a team-high eight boards ... The Crusaders used a fast start to build a big lead in the first half ... Holy Cross scored the game’s first nine points before Stockill put the Raiders on the board with 16:30 on the clock ... The Crusaders replied with a 15-0 run over the next eight-plus minutes, which included three straight 3-pointers from Brisje Malone, Smith and Lepley ... Colgate crept back within 26-9 on a pair of Butler foul shots, but the teams played relatively even to close out the half with Holy Cross ahead 32-14 ... The Raiders couldn’t mount much offensive rhythm in the second half either ... Brase tried to ignite Colgate’s inside game with two layups in the first 90 seconds to cut the Crusader lead to 32-18, but Molly Hourigan’s score from the paint and two foul shots from Malone evened out Colgate’s initial push ... Colgate crawled back within 14 points a second time, with Kelly Reid’s jumper making it a 38-24 Holy Cross lead with 13:08 remaining ... But the Crusaders responded with five straight points, with Lepley sinking another 3 to give them a 43-24 lead at the 11:30 mark ... Lepley finished a strong 8-for-12 from the field and 2-for-3 from beyond the arc ... As a team, Holy Cross shot 44.4 percent (24-for-54) and finished with 22 assists and seven 3-pointers ... Colgate managed to hit just 7-of-30 shots in the second half ... The Raiders were just 1-for-16 on 3-pointers and were outrebounded 45-32.
NAVY Alix Membreno narrowly missed a triple-double with 18 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists to lead Navy to a 60-48 victory over Bucknell in the semifinals of the Patriot League Tournament Monday at Alumni Hall ... Membreno paced the second-seeded Mids, but she had a lot of assistance as well ... Audrey Bauer scored 13 points, and Jade Geif pitched in 12 with seven rebounds ... Lindsay Horbatuck and Shelby Romine shared the Bucknell lead with 14 points apiece, while the former ended her career with yet another double-double with 10 rebounds ... Horbatuck’s 325 boards this season puts her alone in fifth in League history for rebounds in a campaign ... Just as in the semifinals, the Bison had to try to overcome a double-digit halftime deficit ... Navy started with the game’s first seven points and led 15-5 at the 13:54 mark following a 3-pointer from Chloe Stapleton ... The lead ballooned to 26-11 on back-to-back buckets from Geif and Membreno before Horbatuck’s layup snapped Navy’s 9-1 run and made it a 26-13 game at the break ... Membreno scored the first basket of the second half 61 seconds in before a Romine triple cut the Mids’ lead to 28-16 ... Romine struck again to bring the Bison within 30-20 at 17:21 of the second half ... The Navy lead remained in double figures for the next five minutes before Bucknell used a 10-2 run, highlighted by an and-one conversion for Romine and consecutive 3-balls from Audrey Dotson and Tyler Craig, to cut the Mids’ lead to 39-35 just past the midway point ... Bauer and Kara Pollinger provided the big answer for Navy ... The former scored on a jumper after a timeout by the Mids to ignite a 10-0 run that also included a pair of 3-pointers ... Bauer and Pollinger both scored five points during the run, and Navy was in front 49-35 with 6:51 to play ... Romine snapped the Navy run, but Membreno scored five straight on her own to put the Mids ahead 54-37 with 4:14 to play ... Navy cruised from there ... Bucknell shot just 33 percent (19 for 58) after hitting just five from the floor in the first half ... Navy shot 48 percent, including a blistering 14-for-25 clip (56 percent) in the second half.