Patriot League Women's Basketball Weekend Preview - 11.18.11

PATRIOTLEAGUE.ORG Chey Arvin and Navy will be in action Friday night for the first time in nearly a week.
PATRIOTLEAGUE.ORG
Chey Arvin and Navy will be in action Friday night for the first time in nearly a week.
PATRIOTLEAGUE.ORG

Nov. 18, 2011

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Now in his 29th season as a head coach, Army’s Dave Magarity entered the season knowing he would reach the next big milestone in relatively short order. He came into the year with an overall record of 398-398, and his Black Knights wasted little time in lifting him to that next plateau. Army’s 59-43 win Wednesday at St. Francis (N.Y.) was the team’s second of the season, but it will be remembered more for being the 400th of Magarity’s career, which is in its sixth season at West Point.

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Magarity becomes the second head coach in the Patriot League to reach a significant milestone in as many seasons, as Bucknell’s Kathy Fedorjaka recorded her 200th victory heading up the Bison program last year in a win at Lafayette.

And we’re not finished. Thanks to Holy Cross’ 80-70 victory Wednesday over Quinnipiac in Worcester, Mass., Crusader head coach Bill Gibbons is just three victories shy of 500 for his career. There very well could be a third milestone reached this season as Navy’s Stefanie Pemper, the League’s reigning Coach of the Year, is sitting on 288 victories.

The focus shifts back to the players as the weekend’s festivities get underway with three games Friday. Colgate seeks its first victory of the Nicci Hays Fort era when it plays Dartmouth as part of the University of Vermont Tournament in Burlington, Vt., at 5 p.m., while American hosts Mount St. Mary’s and Navy visits William & Mary at 7 p.m.

Six games are set for Saturday in what is shaping up to be a very busy day of basketball. Sunday is an off day for all eight teams, and Thanksgiving week begins with one game Monday with American going on the road to visit Youngstown State.

Five contests are scheduled for Tuesday, including Lehigh’s visit to No. 15/15 Rutgers.

Patriot League Weekly Awards (11.7-11.13)

ANACONDA PLAYER OF THE WEEK
LISA STRACK, AMERICAN Sr., G, Langhorne, Pa.
12.5 ppg, 9.5 rpg, 3.0 apg, 3.0 spg, .333 FG%, .727 FT%

ANACONDA ROOKIE OF THE WEEK
EMILY PARKER, HOLY CROSS Fr., F, Johnston, Iowa
17.0 ppg, 10.0 rpg, 1.0 bpg, .727 FG%

HONORABLE MENTION PERFORMANCES LAST WEEK

JEN HAZLETT, ARMY So., G/F, Syracuse, Utah
14.0 ppg, 5.5 rpg, .647 FG%, .500 3FG%

JHAZMINE LYNCH, COLGATE Jr., G, San Diego, Calif.
19.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 6.0 apg, 1.0 spg, .500 FG%

ALEXA WILLIAMS, LEHIGH Sr., F, Warren, Ohio
15.5 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.0 spg, .348 FG%, .875 FG%

Patriot League Notebook

THE FIRST MILESTONE FALLS
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.) Wednesday, delivering head coach Dave Magarity the 400th victory of his career, which has spanned three decades and includes 87 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 (528) and Bill Gibbons of Holy Cross (497). Magarity is 87-65 at Army and is coaching in his sixth season at West Point and 29th overall.

GIBBONS NEXT, PEMPER AND FEDORJAKA AFTER
The next coach that appears primed to reach a significant milestone is the aforementioned Bill Gibbons. He is in his 27th year as the head coach at Holy Cross and owns a 497-288 mark after the Crusaders’ 80-70 victory over Quinnipiac Wednesday night. If Holy Cross is able to extend Wednesday’s victory into a winning streak, Gibbons could reach the 500-win plateau Nov. 27 when the Crusaders visit Harvard. After Gibbons, Navy’s Stefanie Pemper sits with 288 career victories, making 300 a very good possibility this season. Bucknell’s Kathy Fedorjaka, who recorded win No. 200 as Bison head coach last season, has 275 overall wins entering the weekend.

FRESHMEN SHINE IN EARLY GOING
The Patriot League has had a steady crop of impactful freshmen the last several years, and it appears as though 2011-12 will be no different. Bucknell’s Amy Zehner scored a game-high 25 points with five rebounds, six blocks, four assists and three steals in the Bison’s heartbreaking 57-56 loss Wednesday to Youngstown State. While Zehner was doing everything for the Bison, Anaconda Rookie of the Week Emily Parker of Holy Cross was leading the way with 20 points and eight boards in the Crusaders’ 80-70 win over Quinnipiac. Colgate’s Mariah Jones has stepped in immediately and is averaging 11.5 points per game in the Raiders’ first two contests of the year. Last season the League featured several freshmen who contributed to their teams right away in Navy’s Jade Geif, Bucknell’s Shelby Romine, Lafayette’s Danielle Fiacco and Holy Cross’ Alex Smith.

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.

ALL-LEAGUE TURNOVER
Ten of the 11 players named First- or Second-Team All-Patriot League a year ago graduated in the spring. The one who remains is American senior Lisa Strack, who was named to the Preseason All-League Team last month and is expected to contribute mightily to the Eagles this season. One of three seniors named to the Preseason All-League squad, Strack is the League’s second-highest returning scorer after averaging 11.6 points per game last season. She was also her team’s best distributor, averaging 3.4 assists per game, placing her fourth in the League.

SUPER SOPHOMORES
Three of the six players to garner a place on the Preseason All-League team are sophomores. Bucknell’s Shelby Romine looks to build on a a remarkable freshman campaign in which she led all League rookies in scoring with 13.5 points per game. In addition to being the League’s top scorer back, she boasts the highest assist-per-game average (3.6) of any returning player. Holy Cross’ Alex Smith was also named to the Preseason All-League team after averaging 11.1 points and 3.4 assists per game for the Crusaders, who are trying to improve on their 10-20 mark and 6-8 showing in the League from a year ago.

EASTON EXCITED FOR HEALTHY FIACCO
Lafayette’s Danielle Fiacco was enjoying a tremendous freshman campaign a year ago before suffering a season-ending injury in a League contest against Army. In 21 games and 11 starts, Fiacco averaged 6.6 points and 8.0 rebounds per game and collected an astonishing 71 blocks. Her rejections total is second in Lafayette single-season history and she was on her way to challenging the League record for a single season before her injury. Now healthy, Fiacco is Lafayette’s top returning scorer from a season ago and looks to continue dominating the paint as the Leopards attempt to challenge for the League crown under second-year head coach Dianne Nolan. Fiacco has nine blocks on the season in two games.

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.

OPPOSITE ENDS OF THE SPECTRUM
With a lot of new faces in the starting lineup, Army will look to get off to a great start to the season by playing seven of its first 10 games at home. The Black Knights opened with Wagner Friday night and entertained BIG EAST opponent Seton Hall Sunday before going on the road for the first time Wednesday. The Black Knights have posted a 2-1 record to start. The seven-in-10 stretch ends Dec. 6 when Army welcomes Binghamton to Christl Arena. Meanwhile, Lehigh, which is coming off its third straight 20-win season, opened its season at La Salle last Friday and just completed its season-opening three-game road trip. The Mountain Hawks have their home opener Saturday against St. Peter’s before venturing out for three more away from home.

THANKSGIVING TRAVELS
For most, Thanksgiving is a time for getting together with family or friends, catching up with loved ones and sharing a big meal of turkey, stuffing and all the fixings. It’s also a busy time for basketball teams, and this year is no different for the eight Patriot League schools. All eight will have some competition that weekend, with four clubs participating in tournaments. Lafayette and Lehigh will both participate in the Thanksgiving Challenge against Northeast Conference opponents. American and Colgate will vie for the most miles logged when both head to the West Coast for the turkey holiday. The Eagles will compete in the Cal Poly Thanksgiving Tournament, while the Raiders will play two in a bracket hosted by Cal State Northridge.

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.

FIGHTING FOR HOME COURT
For the second season in a row, the Patriot League Tournament will be contested on the home courts of the higher seeds in all rounds of the bracket. In recent years the quarterfinals and semifinals have been hosted at one central location, with just the championship game being played at the site of the better seed. That means this season there is even more emphasis on League play. Teams will be playing not only for seeding, but also for the opportunity to host one (or more) games in the Patriot League Tournament. The Patriot League Tournament semifinals are slated for Thursday, March 1, the semifinals Monday, March 5 and the championship game Saturday, March 10 at 6 p.m.

ALL-ACCESS HAS YOU COVERED AGAIN
For the fifth consecutive year, most of the Patriot League men and women’s basketball games starting in January will be available online through the Patriot League All-Access subscription. For $7.95 a month, fans will be able to view streams of the available League contests right in the comfort of their own homes. In addition, a monthly subscription will give fans access to archived broadcasts and events. Fans can also purchase a yearly subscription for $19.95, making available every premium All-Access event for a 12-month period, including the basketball games and upcoming Patriot League championship events. All-Access also features several pieces of free contest posted weekly, including Top Plays of the Week, the Student-Athlete Interview series, recaps and previews.

Team Notebooks

AMERICAN The Eagles couldn’t overcome Oakland’s nearly 60 percent shooting from the field as the Eagles fell 68-62 Tuesday night at Bender Arena ... Alexis Dobbs scored a team-high 16 points with four assists and three steals, while Stephanie Anya dropped in 11 points with seven rebounds ... American shot just 5 of 25 from beyond the arc, while Oakland held a 50-30 edge in points in the paint ... The Eagles try to rebound when they host Mount St. Mary’s Friday at 7 p.m. and then hit the road Monday to visit Youngstown State at 7 p.m.

ARMY Sophomore Jen Hazlett scored a career-high 20 points and Army opened the second half with a 17-6 run en route to a 59-43 win at Saint Francis (N.Y.) to hand Dave Magarity his landmark 400th career victory ... The Black Knights shot 57 percent from the field in the first half but led by just five at the break before the deciding run ... Molly Yardley scored 11 points and Janelle Travis pitched in 10, while Hazlett and Olivia Schretzman each grabbed eight rebounds ... Now 2-1, the Black Knights return to Christl Arena to host Fairleigh Dickinson Saturday at 1 p.m.

BUCKNELL Youngstown State logged an 11-0 run over the last 3:15 of the game to hand Bucknell a heartbreaking 57-56 defeat in Lewisburg, Pa., Wednesday ... Amy Zehner’s jumper with 3:29 left put the Bison up 56-46, but those would be the last points they’d score ... Bucknell had the last possession, but Zehner’s jumper with one second left was no good ... Zehner scored 25 points on 12-of-23 shooting with five rebounds, four assists and six blocks in a dominating performance ... The Bison visit Buffalo Saturday at 5:30 p.m. before returning home Tuesday to welcome Morgan State to Sojka Pavilion.

COLGATE The Raiders dropped a heartbreaker at Cornell, despite 17 points, eight rebounds and four steals from junior Jhazmine Lynch Tuesday in a 59-56 loss to the Big Red ... The Raiders led 25-23 at the break and Lynch scored the first five points of the second half to extend the lead to seven ... The Big Red rallied and took a late lead, and 3-point attempts in the final five seconds from Lynch and Mariah Jones were no good ... Tricia Oakes added 11 points with eight rebounds, while Jones scored 10 ... It marked the second straight game in which Jones, a freshmen, reached double figures in points ... Colgate takes part in the University of Vermont Tournament starting Friday at 5 p.m. against Dartmouth and battles the host Saturday.

HOLY CROSS It looks like the next coach to reach a milestone is Holy Cross’ Bill Gibbons, who picked up career win No. 497 as the Crusaders earned their first triumph of the season 80-70 over Quinnipiac in their home opener Wednesday night ... Anaconda Rookie of the Week Emily Parker led four Crusaders in double figures with a game-high 20 points, while Meredith Ward added 15 and Alex Smith scored 14 with eight boards and six assists ... Holy Cross shot 54 percent from the floor and was 19 of 24 from the line ... The Crusaders continue their three-game homestand Saturday when they host Fordham and remain home for Massachusetts Tuesday.

LAFAYETTE The Leopards have been off since Monday’s 87-47 loss to Princeton, and are next in action Saturday for a 7 p.m. tip at Syracuse ... It’s part of a two-game road swing for Lafayette, which is at St. Peter’s Tuesday, after the Peahens visit Lehigh Saturday ... Sophomore Danielle Fiacco has nine blocks in the first two games of the year and now has 80 for her career, placing her tied for 19th on the League’s all-time list.

LEHIGH The Mountain Hawks continue seeking that elusive first win of the year after falling 68-51 at Sacred Heart Wednesday to close its season-opening three-game road trip ... Sarah Pearce and Alexa Williams both scored 13 points to lead the Mountain Hawks, who shot 36 percent for the game and went just 2 of 15 on 3-pointers ... Pearce, Williams and Katie O’Reilly all collected seven rebounds apiece ... Lehigh looks to bounce back Saturday when it plays host to St. Peter’s in its home opener ... The Mountain Hawks will embark on another three-game road trip thereafter, which is set to begin Tuesday at No. 15/15 Rutgers.

NAVY The defending Patriot League champions have been idle since Sunday’s loss at Loyola (Md.) ... The Mids are in action Friday night for a 7 p.m. tip at William & Mary, and then don’t play again until Saturday, Nov. 26 for an afternoon start at Mount St. Mary’s ... The game against the Mountaineers will be the first of two contests in three days for the Mids, who will be back in action two days later hosting Academy rival Air Force.