Patriot League Women's Basketball Weekend Preview - 11.30.12

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG Kara Pollinger and Navy set their sites on winning the Navy Classic this weekend in Annapolis, Md.
Kara Pollinger and Navy set their sites on winning the Navy Classic this weekend in Annapolis, Md.

Nov. 30, 2012

Patriot League Women's Basketball Release - 11.30.12 Get Acrobat Reader

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Five Patriot League teams will look to continue win streaks when weekend action commences in the sport of women’s basketball.

Navy is the first to tip off, as the Mids open their own Navy Classic Friday at 6 p.m. with a contest against East Carolina at Alumni Hall in Annapolis, Md. The Mids have won two in a row and four of their last five. The loss was in overtime, a 66-63 decision against UC Davis in the Husky Classic hosted by Houston Baptist.

Nobody in the League is hotter than Army, which captured its fifth straight victory Wednesday with a 61-51 triumph over Columbia. Olivia Schretzman was the star against the Lions as she matched career-highs in points and rebounds in the victory.

Bucknell has won four straight after dropping its first two contests of the season. The Bison won 55-43 Wednesday against visiting Mount St. Mary’s, and they close out a three-game home stand Saturday night against Buffalo at Davis Gym.

American and Holy Cross enter the weekend both having won two straight. The Eagles visit Loyola Maryland Saturday at 2 p.m., while Holy Cross begins a string of eight straight away from home later that afternoon with a 4 p.m. tip at Manhattan.

Colgate, Lafayette and Lehigh look to break back into the win column this weekend. The Raiders visit Sacred Heart Saturday at 1 p.m. looking to even their record during their small trip through Connecticut. Lafayette takes on its third BIG EAST opponent of the season when it hosts Pittsburgh Saturday at Kirby Sports Center. Lehigh is idle until Monday, when it heads to Baltimore for a 7 p.m. tilt with Loyola Maryland.

Patriot League Women’s Basketball Quick Hits

• Army’s five-game win streak is its longest since capturing six consecutive victories in the middle of the 2010-11 season.

• A win Monday at Penn would extend Bucknell’s win streak to five, matching its longest since 2008-09.

• Lafayette meets Pittsburgh Saturday for the third time in program history, and the first in Easton. Pitt overcame a 15-point deficit in the second half to steal a 74-69 overtime win in their last meeting Dec. 31, 2011.

• Colgate’s matchup with second-ranked Connecticut Wednesday was a familial affair. The presidents of the two institutions - Colgate’s Jeffrey Herbst and UConn’s Susan Herbst - are siblings.

• Lehigh freshman Kerry Kinek is nearly averaging a double-double with 12.7 points and 9.8 rebounds per game.

• Holy Cross junior Alex Smith sank four 3-pointers Wednesday, placing her 10th all-time in Patriot League history with 186.

• American’s Geleisa George (2.4 per game) and Alexis Dobbs (2.2) sit 1-2 in the League standings in steals.

• Navy is the only team with three players averaging at least 12 points per game - Kara Pollinger (14.1), Jade Geif (12.4) and Alix Membreno (12.3).

Patriot League Notebook

Patriot League teams have combined for a 25-25 mark through the season’s first 50 games. That includes a very solid showing against teams from area conferences. The League has put together a 17-10 mark versus the America East (1-2), Ivy League (3-2), Metro Atlantic (5-2) and Northeast (8-4) conferences. Last season the Patriot League finished above .500 against the MAAC (9-8), but was under .500 against the others.

Army improved to 5-1 on the season with last Friday’s gutty 72-68 win at Air Force, which extended the Black Knights’ win streak to four. It’s the third time in the seven seasons under head coach Dave Magarity that the Black Knights have started with five victories in six outings. It also occurred in 2006-07 and 2011-12. The win streak was added on to earlier this week with the Black Knights’ 61-51 victory over Columbia.

Lafayette junior center Danielle Fiacco has been the primary blocks leader in the Patriot League the last two seasons. There’s no evidence to suggest she won’t be in a similar position in 2012-13, but she might have some competition. Into the third week of the season, Fiacco is running neck and neck with Army freshman Aimee Oertner for the League lead in rejections. In addition, both players rank in the top 10 nationally in the first NCAA stats released Monday.

Bucknell senior Lindsay Horbatuck joined the Patriot League’s 500 boards club in the second game of the season. She opened her senior campaign with 480, and became the 73rd player in League history to hit the 500 plateau in the Bison’s second contest of the season. She leads the League pulling down 11.5 boards per game, while her season total has nudged her into the all-time top 60.

The future appears bright for the Patriot League if the current crop of freshmen have anything to say about it. Lehigh’s Kerry Kinek was named the Anaconda Rookie of the Week Monday after Army’s Aimee Oertner claimed the award the previous two weeks. It’s no surprise that both rank near the top of the League in scoring, as Kinek is averaging 12.7 points per game and Oertner 11.9. Another freshman, Army’s Kelsey Minato, is 15th in the League averaging 10.0 per game.

At 88-42 overall at American, head coach Matt Corkery ranks second in the League all-time in win percentage (.677), just barely behind Kevin Morris, who guided Fordham to a 40-19 mark in two seasons from 1993-95. Corkery is also chasing the League record for fastest to 100 victories, a mark that is currently owned by Holy Cross’ Bill Gibbons. Gibbons reached 100 victories in 149 contests, with his 100th triumph coming in the 1995-96 season opener against Syracuse. Corkery would match Gibbons’ record with a 12-7 mark in American’s next 19 contests. Navy’s Joe Sanchez collected 100 wins in 162 games from 1994-2000.

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 are led by junior Alexis Dobbs, the reigning Scholar-Athlete of the Year, and sophomore sensation Jen Dumiak in the back court and senior center Stephanie Anya up front.

Team Notebooks

AMERICAN Jen Dumiak equaled her career high with 21 points and Alexis Dobbs pitched in 18 as American won its second straight with an 85-57 wipeout of UMBC Tuesday night at Bender Arena ... Geleisa George added 11 points for the Eagles, who hung their largest output of the season on the Retrievers while shooting 54 percent from the floor, which included 10 3-pointers ... American closed the first half on a 10-0 run to take a 44-32 lead, and scored the first eight of the second to open a commanding 52-32 advantage at the 17:42 mark ... The Eagles expanded the lead to as many as 34 in the late stages of the game, and 10 of 12 players scored at least two points in the rout ... American visits Loyola Maryland Saturday for a 1 p.m. tip.

ARMY Olivia Schretzman equaled her career bests with 20 points and 11 rebounds as Army won 61-51 at West Point against visiting Columbia Wednesday ... Schretzman stepped up with fellow post Aimee Oertner tied to the bench after collecting her third and fourth personal fouls in the first two minutes of the second half ... Anna Simmers chipped in 18 points with eight boards, as she and Schretzman combined to sink 13 of Army’s 18 field goals in the game ... The Black Knights led 28-25 at halftime, but Columbia took a 33-29 advantage nearly five minutes into the second ... Army replied with a 9-0 run and eventually built a 45-38 lead at the under-8 media timeout ... The Lions chipped away to get within six with under 90 seconds left, but Schretzman and Kelsey Minato each sank a pair from the line in the final minute to ice the game ... The Black Knights have won five in a row and look to extend the win streak Saturday with a 3 p.m. home game against Yale.

BUCKNELL extended its win streak to four with a 55-43 victory over Mount St. Mary’s at home Wednesday, it’s first triumph against the Mountaineers in program history ... Shelby Romine and Alyssa Dunn tied with a team-high 11 points, while Sheaira Jones pulled down 10 rebounds and Lindsay Horbatuck hauled in eight ... The Mount went without a field goal for over 12 minutes in the first half, as Bucknell built a 25-11 lead with five minutes left until the break ... The Bison had a 30-20 advantage at halftime, but the Mountaineers opened the second on a 10-2 run ... The Bison responded with a 13-2 run of their own and cruised the rest of the way ... Bucknell won despite turning the ball over 25 times, but outrebounded the Mount 43-29 and held the Mountaineers to 2 of 21 from beyond the arc ... The Bison finish out two straight at home when they welcome Buffalo to Davis Gym Saturday at 7 p.m.

COLGATE In a game that featured a pair of institutions with familial presidential ties, second-ranked Connecticut was too much for Colgate in a 101-41 decision in Hartford ... Colgate’s president is Jeffrey Herbest, while his sister Susan holds the same position at UConn ... Jhazmine Lynch had nine points for the Raiders, and Catherine Lewis chipped in eight ... Colgate was held to under 30 percent shooting, while the Huskies shot 54 percent from the floor ... The Raiders entered the game with the nation’s best free throw shooting at 83.9 percent, and shot 6 of 8 from the charity stripe ... Colgate finishes its two-game trip to the Nutmeg State when it visits Sacred Heart Saturday at 1 p.m.

HOLY CROSS Brisje Malone scored 11 points, but her biggest deuce of the game came from 17 feet away at the buzzer to lift Holy Cross back to .500 with a 57-56 win in Worcester, Mass., over Central Connecticut Wednesday ... Junior Alex Smith scored 16 points with five assists and shot 4 of 9 on treys, lifting her into the Patriot League’s all-time top 10 in made 3-pointers with 186 ... The Crusaders led comfortably 36-25 at halftime, but the Blue Devils chipped away and cut the deficit to six after seven minutes ... Central Connecticut overtook the lead 46-45 with 5:20 to go before the teams traded the lead over the next several minutes ... Down 56-55 with four seconds to go, Smith inbounded the ball from under the basket to Malone, who found enough daylight to let her jumper fly as time expired ... The Crusaders open a stretch of eight straight on the road Saturday when they visit Manhattan at 4 p.m. ... Holy Cross’ next home game is Jan. 8 against Brown.

LAFAYETTE Emily Homan and Danielle Fiacco both recorded double-doubles, but Rider edged Lafayette 68-64 at Kirby Sports Center Tuesday ... Homan scored a team-high 18 points with 10 rebounds for the Leopards, while Fiacco logged 14 points, 14 boards and four blocks ... Lafayette opened an early 16-8 lead, but the Broncs chipped away and eventually moved in front 32-29 at the break ... Lafayette put together a 17-5 run in the second half to take a 46-40 advantage with just under 13 minutes left, but again Rider came back and moved ahead 58-52 with 6:32 remaining ... Kelly Loughney’s bucket cut the Broncs’ lead to three with 3:39 on the clock, but Lafayette could get no closer ... The Leopards pounded Rider 54-35 on the boards, but committed 24 turnovers ... The Leopards’ schedule gets no easier as they welcome BIG EAST member Pittsburgh to Kirby Sports Center Saturday at 2 p.m.

LEHIGH Sarah Williams scored a team-high 14 points in 28 minutes off the bench, but Lehigh fell 66-49 at Villanova Thursday night in the only contest featuring a Patriot League squad ... The Mountain Hawks fell behind 23-7 nine minutes into the first half after a pair of 7-0 runs by the Wildcats ... After three straight 3-pointers, Villanova had built a 39-17 lead with 3:42 left until the break ... Williams ignited a half-closing 11-0 run for Lehigh, scoring 10 of those points ... Lauren Burford’s trey capped off an 8-2 Villanova run to open the second, and the Wildcats were up 47-30 with just over three minutes gone by after the break ... The Wildcats’ lead ballooned to 61-38 with 8:28 remaining ... Freshman Kerry Kinek finished with 10 points and nine rebounds for Lehigh, while Lindsay Hoskins scored seven points with five boards ... Both teams shot just shy of 40 percent, but Villanova sank six more baskets and had 16 more attempts ... The Wildcats shot 10 of 28 from beyond the arc, while Lehigh was 4 of 9 ... The Mountain Hawks hit the floor next on Monday with a 7 p.m. tip at Loyola Maryland.

NAVY The Mids have had some well-earned rest this week after playing three games in four days around the Thanksgiving Holiday ... They defeated Air Force 60-36 in their last outing Monday ... Navy opens its own Navy Classic Friday with a 6 p.m. tip against East Carolina ... The Mids will take on either High Point or Monmouth Saturday ... Navy will wrap up its three-game home stand Tuesday night with a 7 p.m. tip against William & Mary ... Navy enters the weekend with the League’s best scoring defense (54.4 points allowed per game) and the best scoring margin (+7.6) ... Kara Pollinger is fourth in the League averaging 14.1 points per outing, while Jade Geif is seventh hauling down 7.9 rebounds.