Patriot League Women's Basketball Weekend Preview - 11.16.12

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG Jen Hazlett and Army host Penn Sunday afternoon.
Jen Hazlett and Army host Penn Sunday afternoon.

Nov. 16, 2012

Patriot League Women's Basketball Weekend Preview - 11.16.12 Get Acrobat Reader

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Six Patriot League teams have contests scheduled over the weekend, and a pair of teams will be looking to break into the win column for the first time this season.

Bucknell dropped its home opener Wednesday night, and the Bison take to the road Saturday for a 1:30 p.m. tip at Canisius. Navy will have been idle for nearly a week when it hosts St. Peter’s in its first game in Annapolis Saturday night. The Mids are the second League team to take on the Peahens this week after Lehigh defeated them by two in Jersey City, N.J., Wednesday night.

Army, Colgate and the Mountain Hawks are looking to build some positive momentum heading into Thanksgiving week. The Black Knights had three players post double-doubles Thursday night in a five-point win at Fairleigh Dickinson. Army hosts Penn Sunday afternoon.

Colgate is the lone League squad in action Friday night, and the Raiders will have a tough test at St. Bonaventure. Tip off is set for 7 p.m.

Lehigh isn’t in action again until Tuesday.

Holy Cross will look to bounce back from Tuesday’s loss to Boston College when it hosts New Hampshire Saturday. The Crusaders matched up with the Wildcats twice last season, including in the first round of the WBI.

Lafayette will take on another team from one of the “Big Six” conferences when the Leopards visit ninth-ranked Penn State Sunday at 2 p.m.


• Four League players have eclipsed the 20-point plateau this season, with Army’s Anna Simmers joining the ranks Thursday night with 21 against Fairleigh Dickinson. American’s Jen Dumiak has hit or surpassed the 20-point mark twice.

• It’s early, but the top seven in the League standings in scoring are all underclassmen.

• Army continues to punish its opponents on the boards, outrebounding them 150-96 in three games.

• After hosting Central Connecticut Nov. 28, Holy Cross won’t play another home game until Jan. 8 versus Brown.

• Navy started 0-2 last season when it opened the defense of its 2010-11 Patriot League title.

• Freshman Kerry Kinek leads Lehigh in scoring (11.5 per game), rebounding (12.0) and minutes (29.5).

Patriot League Notebook

The head coaches and sports information directors named two-time defending Patriot League champion Navy as the favorite in 2012-13 in late October. The Mids, led by Preseason Player of the Year junior Jade Geif, are seeking to do something no League squad has done in over a decade - win three straight titles. The first and only program to do it is Holy Cross, which captured four straight championships from 1997-98 to 2000-01. Navy returns four starters from a year ago, all of whom are in their junior seasons. Navy topped the preseason poll with 89 points and eight first-place ballots.

Navy is sure to have stiff competition in the League this season. American, which has won 19 of 20 regular season League games and became the first to post a perfect 14-0 record last year, earned 85 points with six first-places votes in the preseason poll. Matt Corkery enters his fifth season in the nation’s capital and boasts the League’s highest winning percentage in League play (46-10, .821). The Eagles will be led by junior guard and reigning Scholar-Athlete of the Year Alexis Dobbs in the back court and senior center Stephanie Anya, whose 89 career blocks rank her in the League’s all-time top 20.

Holy Cross hadn’t been to the title game of the Patriot League Tournament since a four-year run from 2005-08, but the Crusaders made it back last season and nearly took home the trophy before falling 57-48 at Navy in the championship. Buoyed by a pair of preseason All-League honorees in senior Amy Lepley and junior Alex Smith, Holy Cross hopes to build on a 2011-12 campaign that ended in the quarterfinals of the WBI. Bill Gibbons is in his 28th season on the sidelines in Worcester, Mass. The Crusaders took third in the poll with 70 points and one first-place vote.

2011-12 was a coming out party for Army guard Anna Simmers, who finished her junior campaign leading the Patriot League in scoring at 14.8 points per outing. Now she’s looking for bigger and better things at West Point, as the Black Knights seek their first League crown since the dream 2005-06 season. Simmers is part of a formidable 1-2 punch with junior teammate Jen Hazlett, who finished fourth in the League averaging 12.9 points per game a season ago. Hazlett accounted for the League’s highest single-season point total last year with 30 points against Colgate, while Simmers’ 28 against Lehigh were second.

Nobody had reached 100 blocks in a single season in League history until Lafayette center Danielle Fiacco did it in 2011-12. And she didn’t just stop there, as she finished with a record-smashing 112 for the season. The 6-foot-7 center began her junior campaign eighth on the League’s blocks charts with 183, and has added 12 more so far to move into sole possession of seventh on the League’s all-time list with 195. Fiacco’s effectiveness is increased by the presence of last season’s Rookie of the Year Emily Homan, herself a force at power forward.

Colgate’s Jhazmine Lynch made history as the program’s first Rookie of the Year in 2010. After a junior season in which her playing time was mitigated somewhat in November and December by injury, the senior guard is ready to lead the Raiders toward a League championship one more time. Lynch has plenty of help in the back court in sophomore guards Missy Repoli and Mariah Jones. Colgate’s 2011-12 campaign was really a tale of two seasons, as it went 8-12 in its last 20 after a season-opening 10-game skid under first-year head coach Nicci Hays Fort. But the Raiders were in contention for as high as the fifth seed in the League tournament at the end of the regular season, which would’ve been their highest position in six years.

The eight Patriot League teams will have plenty of opportunities to take on tough competition during the course of the non-League slate in the first nine weeks of the season. Some of the notable contests include: Colgate at St. Bonaventure (Nov. 16); Lafayette at Penn State (Nov. 18); American visiting Maryland (Nov. 21); Colgate at Connecticut (Nov. 28); Lehigh at Villanova (Nov. 29); Lafayette entertaining Pittsburgh (Dec. 1); Lafayette at Ohio State (Dec. 9); Navy heading to Marquette (Dec. 19); Holy Cross at Florida (Dec. 28); and Navy visiting Princeton (Jan. 8).

Team Notebooks

AMERICAN has been idle since Monday night’s loss at Oakland ... The Eagles return to the floor next week with a matchup against No. 5 Maryland Wednesday afternoon.

ARMY Three players posted double-doubles as the Black Knights picked up their second road win of the season with a 57-52 victory at Fairleigh Dickinson Thursday evening ... Anna Simmers led all players with 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds with a 9-for-9 showing at the free throw line ... Aimee Oertner poured in 16 points with 10 boards and four blocks, while Olivia Schretzman added 10 points and hauled in 10 rebounds ... Army trailed 40-32 with 8:55 to play before Schretzman capped off a 10-2 run with a pair of foul shots to tie the game about two and a half minutes later ... The Black Knights inched ahead in the next few minutes on three Oertner free throws, and build up a lead as large as eight points before winning by five ... The Black Knights seek a winning streak when they host Penn Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.

BUCKNELL was done in by a late 17-7 by St. Francis (Pa.) as the Red Flash posted a 62-54 win over the Bison Wednesday night in their home opener at Sojka Pavilion ... Shelby Romine posted a team-high 12 points, while Lindsay Horbatuck led the way with 15 boards to join the Patriot League’s 500 club ... The Bison shot just 6 of 26 (23.1 percent) in the first half but had a 23-20 lead at the break ... With the score tied at 50 with 5:18 remaining, the Red Flash scored nine of the next 10 points in a little over four minutes to lead for good ... The Bison are at Canisius Saturday at 1:30 p.m.

COLGATE The Raiders have been idle this week, but return to the floor Friday night at St. Bonaventure ... Colgate will have a week off and return to action Nov. 23-24 at the LIU Turkey Classic hosted by LIU-Brooklyn.

HOLY CROSS The Crusaders went cold from the field after halftime in Tuesday night’s 71-52 loss at home to Boston College ... It was a close game in the first half, with Holy Cross taking its biggest lead of the game just over five minutes in at 11-6 ... The Eagles would chip away, eventually tying the game at 18 before taking a 24-22 lead at halftime ... BC used a decisive 18-3 spurt in the second half to turn a slim 40-38 lead into a 58-41 advantage with about seven minutes remaining ... Alex Smith led Holy Cross with 15 points, while Emily Parker had nine points, seven rebounds and two blocks ... The Crusaders continue their season-opening home stretch Saturday when they host New Hampshire, a team they defeated twice in 2011-12.

LAFAYETTE Nothing seemed to go right for Lafayette, which suffered a 73-34 loss to visiting Villanova Wednesday night ... The Leopards managed to hit just 1 of 14 attempts from beyond the arc and shot 26 percent from the floor for the game ... Danielle Fiacco had seven points and five rebounds for Lafayette, which trailed 43-14 at the break thanks to a pair of big runs in the first 20 minutes by the Wildcats ... The schedule gets no easier for Lafayette, as it visits No. 9 Penn State Sunday afternoon.

LEHIGH Junior Lindsay Hoskins paced Lehigh with a career-high 17 points and narrowly missed a double-double with eight rebounds in the Mountain Hawks’ 62-60 win at St. Peter’s Wednesday ... Sophomore Sarah Williams pitched in 10 points, with eight coming in the first half ... Hoskins scored Lehigh’s biggest points when they mattered most, converting a layup to put it up five with under two minutes to go and sinking a pair of foul shots to give it a 60-54 advantage with 19 seconds remaining ... She drained two more after the Peahens hit a 3-pointer to effectively ice the game ... Lehigh’s next outing will be its home opener Tuesday at 2 p.m. versus visiting La Salle.

NAVY has not played a game since Sunday’s loss at Stony Brook ... The Mids try to right the ship in their home opener Saturday night at 8 p.m. versus St. Peter’s ... Navy welcomes Loyola Maryland to Annapolis Tuesday night.