March 22, 2013
Patriot League Postseason Update - 3.22.13
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — For the seventh consecutive season the Patriot League sent two teams to the postseason, with champion Navy heading to the NCAA Tournament and Army earning a berth in the WNIT before falling at Fordham Thursday.
Navy won its third straight Patriot League championship with Saturday’s 72-53 victory over Holy Cross. The Mids joined the Crusaders as the only ones to capture three consecutive League titles and the accompanying NCAA Tournament berths. On Selection Monday on ESPN, Navy found out it is heading to Queens, N.Y., as the No. 15 seed in the Bridgeport Region to take on second-seeded Kentucky Sunday in the NCAA’s first round. Tip off is set for 12:05 p.m. from Carnesecca Arena on the campus of St. John’s University, and the game will be televised on ESPNU.
The Black Knights led early but endured a scoring drought that eventually caused them to fall behind by seven entering halftime. After tying the game at 26-all following a second half-opening 9-2 run, Fordham regained control and posted a 55-46 victory over Army to move on to a second-round meeting in the WNIT with Boston University. Army’s season ends with a 22-9 mark, and the future looks bright for a West Point program that anticipates returning four starters next year.
PATRIOT LEAGUE WOMEN’S BASKETBALL POSTSEASON QUICK HITS
• American (WNIT), Holy Cross (WBI) and Navy (NCAA) advanced to the postseason a year ago. The Crusaders secured the League’s first postseason win since 1991 with a first-round triumph over New Hampshire.
• Navy and Kentucky are meeting for the first time Sunday.
• Army fell at Fordham Thursday in the programs’ first meeting since 1994-95 when both were members of the Patriot League. The Rams have now won 10 straight in the series.
• Navy hit 13 3-pointers in Saturday’s championship win over Holy Cross. The Mids rank 21st in the nation averaging 7.4 per game (as of Monday).
• Florida defeated Holy Cross in December in the only matchup between the Patriot League and the SEC this season.
• The Patriot League is 3-9 against Atlantic 10 teams, including a 1-3 mark against Fordham through Thursday. If Navy and Dayton win Sunday in Queens, the two will square off Tuesday in the NCAA’s second round in the 13th matchup between the Patriot League and Atlantic 10 this season.
• Navy enters Sunday’s contest second in the League in scoring defense (51.7), tops in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.0) and second in turnovers (14.2).
• The Mids are the only team in the League with 3 players averaging in double figures in points. Jade Geif leads (13.1), followed by Alix Membreno (11.4) and Kara Pollinger (10.8).
Patriot League Postseason Notebook
NAVY COMPLETES THE THREE-PEAT
It had only been done once before, but when Saturday was all said and done there was a second. Navy’s 72-53 win over Holy Cross in front of a national television audience on CBS Sports Network delivered the Mids their third consecutive Patriot League championship, and sent them to the NCAA Tournament for the third time. Holy Cross is the only other program to win three titles in a row when it captured four straight from 1998-2001.
TOP SEEDS CONTINUE DOMINANCE
Navy became the 21st higher-seeded team in 23 championship games to capture the title tilt with Saturday’s triumph over Holy Cross. The Mids also became just the third No. 2 seed to secure the League crown, while the Crusaders were only the second No. 4 seed to ever advance to the title game. The better seeds have also wreaked havoc at home, as Navy improved the hosts’ record to 20-2 all-time in the League championship game.
IT MATTERS AT THE TURN
Does it matter being in first place at the turn? Navy added another piece of the evidence that maybe it does. The Mids 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. Navy claimed the first of their three straight titles in 2011 after hitting the turn with just one League loss, and this year repeated that feat. Six of the last 11 League champions were at least tied for first place at the turn, and three since 2006: Navy (2011, 2013) 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 FALLS AT FORDHAM
Army had an early lead but a first-half scoring drought proved costly as the Black Knights fell 55-46 at Fordham Thursday in the first round of the WNIT. Senior Anna Simmers led with 15 points in her final collegiate contest. Army finishes its season 22-9 and returns a plethora of talent for 2013-14, including reigning Player and Rookie of the Year Kelsey Minato and fellow All-Rookie selection Aimee Oertner.
UNDERCLASSMEN PROVIDING THE SCORING
Entering the postseason 18 of the Patriot League’s top 20 scorers are underclassmen. The lone seniors are Army’s Anna Simmers (2nd, 13.7) and Colgate’s Jhazmine Lynch (16th, 9.5). Holy Cross junior Alex Smith is currently tops averaging 14.5 points per game. In addition, two freshmen are in the top 10 in Lehigh’s Kerry Kinek and Army’s Kelsey Minato at 12.8 per game.
SUCCESSFUL NON-LEAGUE SHOWINGS
The eight Patriot League teams finished off one of their best non-conference showings in some time, putting together a 63-57 mark against out-of-conference foes. That record far surpasses last season’s final 49-72 showing, which included Holy Cross’ win in the first round of the WBI over New Hampshire. Strong showings have been had this season against the Northeast Conference (14-8), Ivy League (11-6) and MAAC (10-8).
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.
#15 NAVY MIDSHIPMEN (21-11, 11-3 PL) VS. #2 KENTUCKY WILDCATS (27-5, 13-4 SEC)
Carnesecca Arena (5,602); Queens, N.Y. • Sunday, 12:05 p.m. • Bridgeport Region (NCAA Tournament) • First Round
Series: First Meeting TV: ESPNU
• Navy and Kentucky are meeting for the first time in history Sunday in the first round of the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
• The Mids last faced an SEC foe Nov. 27, 2010, when they fell 52-43 to Florida in a game played in Bangor, Maine.
• Navy is 1-2 all-time against SEC teams. The sole victory was over Mississippi Dec. 20, 1998 in Annapolis, Md. (74-71).
• Navy will tie Lehigh for the second-most NCAA Tournament appearances by a League team Sunday with its third.
• Jade Geif (13.1) is the team’s leading scorer and is the League’s best shooter from the floor (53.8%)
• Kara Pollinger leads the League in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.8) and is third in assists (3.8).
NAVY Kara Pollinger led all scorers with a game-high and tournament final-record 24 points and Chloe Stapleton netted 19 as Navy ran away from Holy Cross 72-53 to claim the 2012-13 Patriot League Women’s Basketball championship Saturday night at Alumni Hall ... The second-seeded Mids become the second team to win three straight League crowns, joining Holy Cross, which captured four in a row from 1998 to 2001 ... Navy junior Alix Membreno was named Tournament MVP, and was joined on the All-Tournament Team by teammates Pollinger, Stapleton and Jade Geif, the 2011 and ‘12 MVP ... Membreno totaled 38 points, 28 rebounds and 21 points in the tournament, nearly averaging a triple-double ... She scored 10 points with seven dishes and six boards in Saturday night’s final ... The Crusaders held the lead just twice, jumping ahead 7-5 on an Alex Smith triple and 9-7 on another Smith bucket ... The latter of those two instances came at the 14:54 mark of the first half ... Pollinger converted an and-one opportunity to kick off a 12-0 run for the Midshipmen, which was finished off by back-to-back Stapleton 3s ... Navy used a late 7-0 run that Holy Cross’ Raquel Scott snapped with 49 seconds remaining in the half, but the Mids had built a 33-21 lead at the intermission ... Brisje Malone struck again for the Crusaders with a 3-pointer to open the second half to cut Navy’s lead to nine, and later Smith drilled another trey at the 14:26 mark as the shot clock expired to bring Holy Cross within 39-33 ... But Navy replied with what proved to be two back-breaking 3s in succession, with Stapleton and Pollinger teaming up again to put Navy ahead 45-33 with 11:49 remaining ... The Crusaders had one final push, with Ashley Cooper’s trey bringing them within 50-42 at the 9:52 mark, but Navy scored an 8-0 run with Audrey Bauer finished it off with one of her team’s 13 triples on the night. The Mids were up 58-42 with 7:35 left and never saw the lead dip below 12 the rest of the way ... Both teams were able to take care of the ball, but Navy was the most opportunistic, turning 12 Crusader turnovers into 22 points.
WNIT Recap: Fordham 55, Army 46
ARMY Senior Anna Simmers scored a team-high 15 points and freshman Kelsey Minato added 13, but Army fell 55-46 at Fordham in the first round of the 2013 WNIT Thursday night in Bronx, N.Y. ... Marah Strickland and Abigail Corning led the Rams with 15 points apiece on a combined 9-of-20 effort from the floor, while Arielle Collins chipped in 14 ... Army’s offense was working early in building a 15-9 lead, but the Black Knights went through an eight-minute cold snap in the first half in which it shot 0 of 10 from the floor with five turnovers ... Simmers snapped the cold spell with a bucket with 34 seconds left, but Fordham took a 24-17 lead into halftime ... Army opened the second with a 9-2 run, with Minato scored four points during the stretch to tie the game at 26-all at the 15:44 mark ... Collins drilled a 3-pointer to snap a 28-all tie to give Fordham the lead for good ... The Rams used a 10-3 run to take a 43-36 lead with five minutes left ... The Black Knights shot 27 percent in the first half en route to finishing 20 of 61 (33 percent) for the game ... Simmers was 7 of 25 from the floor and 1 of 7 from beyond the arc ... As a team Army was just 3 of 14 (21 percent) from downtown ... Army turned 14 Fordham turnovers into 14 points, and both teams finished with eight steals and 37 rebounds ... The Rams outscored Army 12-3 at the foul line ... The Black Knights finish their most successful season since 2005-06 when they captured their only Patriot League title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament ... Army anticipates returning four starters for the 2013-14 campaign in what will be head coach Dave Magarity’s eight season at West Point ... The Black Knights end the year 22-9 and claimed a share of the Patriot League regular-season crown.