Patriot League Women's Basketball Weekend Preview - 12.7.12

PATRIOTLEAGUEDOTORG Army head coach Dave Magarity leads the Black Knights into Friday night's contest at Rider.
Army head coach Dave Magarity leads the Black Knights into Friday night's contest at Rider.

Dec. 7, 2012

Patriot League Women's Basketball Weekend Preview - 12.7.12 Get Acrobat Reader

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. -- It's another busy weekend coming up, as five teams will see action Saturday and Lafayette, the only team scheduled for Sunday, has another tough matchup at 20th-ranked Ohio State.

The weekend slate starts Friday evening with one contest. Army puts its seven-game win streak on the line at Rider. Tip off is scheduled for 7 p.m. The Broncs have faced off with one other Patriot League team so far this season, as they edged Lafayette 68-64 Nov. 27.

Following Saturday's five tilts, the schedule gets much quieter with teams entering final exams. Sunday and Monday feature one game apiece before the two days of no games. The slate picks back up with one game Thursday, as Army hosts Merchant Marine Academy.

Patriot League Women's Basketball Quick Hits

• Lehigh's Sue Troyan coached her 510th contest on the Mountain Hawks' sidelines Thursday night.

• Lafayette's contest at No. 20 Ohio State Sunday afternoon will be the Leopards' second this season against a nationally ranked Big Ten opponent.

• The Patriot League is one of three conferences to have a pair of players rank in the top 10 nationally in blocks. The others are the Big South and the Big 12 as of Monday's NCAA statistics.

• Bucknell is the first team to reach its final exam period. The Bison aren't in action again until Dec. 15 against Longwood at home.

• Holy Cross' noon tip at Quinnipiac will be televised on NESN (New England Sports Network).

• Six of the League's eight teams are .500 or better at home through roughly the first quarter of the season.

• Army's Anna Simmers (15.6 ppg) and Bucknell's Alyssa Dunn (13.1) are the only two seniors to rank in the League's top 20 in scoring.

• Lafayette's Danielle Fiacco became the second player this season to haul in her 500th career rebound. She's now 68th in League history with 506 and rising. She's also moved up to fourth all-time in blocks with 221, just one behind Army's Erin Anthony for third.

• Following Thursday's win over Fairfield, Lehigh continues its five-game month-ending home stand Saturday against Niagara.

• American, Colgate, Lehigh and Navy all enter the weekend looking for their second straight victories.

Patriot League Notebook

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 looks to have some competition. Into the fourth week of the season, Fiacco is running neck and neck with Army freshman Aimee Oertner for the League lead in rejections. In addition, both are one of three conference duos to rank in the top 10 nationally in the second set of NCAA stats released Monday.

Patriot League teams have combined for a 35-32 mark through the season's first 67 games. That includes a very solid showing against teams from area conferences. The League has put together a 22-14 mark versus the America East (1-2), Ivy League (5-3), Metro Atlantic (8-4) and Northeast (8-5) conferences. Last season the Patriot League finished above .500 against the MAAC (9-8), but was under .500 against the others.

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 last 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, and Kinek further established her positioning as an offensive force with a career-high 19 points Monday against Loyola Maryland. You can also add Army freshman guard Kelsey Minato to the list, who averaged 11.0 points per game last week and was named the Anaconda Rookie of the Week Monday.

At 89-43 overall at American, head coach Matt Corkery ranks among the best in the League all-time in win percentage (.674). 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 11-6 mark in American's next 17 contests. Navy's Joe Sanchez collected 100 wins in 162 games from 1994-2000.

Several teams have big stretches coming up on the road around Christmas and New Year's. American will play four straight away from Bender Arena to close December, while Bucknell has three on the road and Holy Cross is currently in the midst of an eight-game road swing. Lafayette is in a stretch where it plays three of its next four away from Kirby Sports Center.

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 10.9 boards per game, while her season total has nudged her close to the all-time top 50.

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.

Three games involving Patriot League teams will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network this season, including two in the regular season and the League's championship tilt in March. Two-time defending champion Navy hosts Lafayette Jan. 13 in Annapolis, Md., in the first televised contest, while Holy Cross visits Lehigh Feb. 10 in Bethlehem, Pa., in the second. Coverage wraps up Saturday, March 16, when CBS Sports Network televises the Patriot League championship game from the site of the higher seed. Tip off is slated for 6 p.m. Bob Socci will handle the play-by-play and Amy Lawrence the analysis.

Team Notebooks

AMERICAN Three players reached double figures, led by Alexis Dobbs' team-high 16 points, as American won its second straight at home with a 70-54 triumph over Coppin State Wednesday ... Jen Dumiak pitched in 13 points and T'Asia McGeorge added 12 for the Eagles, which bounced back from Saturday's loss at Loyola Maryland ... American held a 35-26 lead at halftime after shooting 43.3 percent in the first half, and the Eagles were remarkably consistent as they finished the game at 43.5 percent ... Dumiak's jumper with 11:03 left put the Eagles up by 16, and they rolled from there ... Michelle Holmes and Sarah Kiely both hauled in seven rebounds from the bench ... The Eagles are home Saturday afternoon to host George Washington.

ARMY Anna Simmers scored a game-high 21 points to lead Army to its seventh straight victory with a 54-49 triumph at Manhattan Tuesday night ... Jen Hazlett added 10 points, while Olivia Schretzman cleaned the boards with a team-high 11 rebounds ... Simmers gave Army its first lead of the game with just under 8:59 left in the first half, and the Black Knights were ahead 31-18 at the break following another Simmers bucket ... The Jaspers cut the deficit to single digits with 13:37 remaining in the game, but Army regained control thanks to Simmers' three-point play ... But Manhattan kept chipping away and trailed by only five with under five to play ... The clubs traded free throws late, with Kelsey Minato sinking two with seven seconds left to clinch the victory ... Army visits Rider Friday night before returning home to welcome Loyola Maryland Monday.

BUCKNELL The Bison are off for final exams until Dec. 15 when they host Longwood at 4 p.m.

COLGATE Missy Repoli led all scorers with 19 points and Mariah Jones added 13 as Colgate snapped a two-game skid with a convincing 67-48 win over Columbia in Hamilton, N.Y., Tuesday ... Kelly Reid brought down a team-high eight rebounds, helping the Raiders post a 47-33 advantage on the glass ... Colgate shot 48 percent from the field, including an 8-of-15 effort on 3-pointers ... After the Lions tied the game at 22 with 5:11 on the clock before halftime, the Raiders went on a 15-3 run to take a 37-25 advantage into the locker room ... Carole Harris' bucket built Colgate's advantage to 18 less than five minutes into the second half, and Reid's layup with 6:49 remaining gave the Raiders their largest lead of the game at 63-40 ... The Raiders host St. Francis (Pa.) Saturday afternoon before breaking for eight days for final exams.

HOLY CROSS Alex Smith scored a team-high 16 points as Holy Cross fell 70-48 at Northeastern Wednesday ... The Crusaders shot 33.3 percent (9 of 27) in the first half and trailed 30-20 at the break ... The Huskies eventually built their lead to 45-27 six and a half minutes into the second half and scored 24 of the game's last 40 points ... Raquel Scott scored nine points with six rebounds for the Crusaders, who shot 5 of 24 (20.8 percent) from downtown ... Smith accounted for four of those made 3s, giving her 193 for her career and moving her within two of ninth place in League history ... Holy Cross visits Quinnipiac Saturday at noon in a game that will be televised on NESN ... That will be the Crusaders' final tilt before exams.

LAFAYETTE Danielle Fiacco posted her fifth double-double of the season with 11 points and 13 rebounds, but Lafayette lost 69-43 at Saint Joseph's Wednesday in Philadelphia ... The Leopards were behind 17-6 midway through the first half and climbed within eight at 30-22 at the break following Kelly Loughney's bucket with 12 seconds on the clock ... Saint Joseph's scored the first 11 points of the second half as part of a 21-2 run to move in front 51-24 with 11:47 remaining ... Emily Homan scored eight points with three rebounds, and Loughney added six off the bench ... Lafayette plays its second nationally ranked Big Ten opponent of the season Sunday when it visits No. 20 Ohio State at 1 p.m.

LEHIGH The Mountain Hawks' defense forced Fairfield into shooting only 12 percent in the second half as Lehigh took a 47-42 victory Thursday night in Bethlehem, Pa. ... Kerry Kinek and Elizabeth Sharlow shared the team lead with nine points, with the latter's coming in 22 minutes off the bench ... Kinek added eight rebounds ... Lehigh trailed by just four at 30-26 at halftime despite hitting just 33 percent of its opportunities from the floor while the Stags shot better than 46 percent ... The Mountain Hawks' defense held Fairfield at bay in the second, as the Stags made four field goals in the 20-minute span, all from beyond the arc, while putting up a 4-for-33 number ... Fairfield went 0 for 17 on 2-point tries ... It led by as many as 15 in the first half before Lehigh clawed its way back into the contest ... The Mountain Hawks are home Saturday to take on Niagara at 7 p.m.

NAVY Jade Geif led four players scoring in double figures as Navy rallied for a 69-64 win over William & Mary in Annapolis, Md., Tuesday ... Geif logged her League-leading fifth double-double with 15 points and 10 boards, while Chloe Stapleton scored a team-high 20 in 27 minutes off the bench on 7-of-13 from the field and 6-of-12 from beyond the arc ... Alix Membreno added 14 points and Kara Pollinger 10, respectively ... The Mids trailed by 13 at the 14:42 mark of the first half, but the Mids stormed back and took a 38-37 advantage at the break ... After hitting 37 percent from the field in the first, the Mids improved to 42 percent in the second ... Navy turned 19 Tribe turnovers into 20 points ... The Mids are at Mount St. Mary's Saturday afternoon before taking an 11-day respite for final exams.