EMMITSBURG, Md. – The Navy women’s basketball team had a streaky performance on Saturday afternoon on the road at Mount St. Mary’s. Taking on their second straight 2022 NCAA Tournament participating team, the Mids (0-4) had slow first and third quarters, though a strong second period and a quick start to the fourth left them down just four points with five minutes to go in regulation before the Mountaineers (1-3) made their final seven field goals attempts and seven of eight free throws to earn the 68-59 victory at Knott Arena.
Sydne Watts (Jr., Canton, Ga.) and Maren Louridas (Fr., Delmar, N.Y.) led Navy’s efforts on the offensive end as they combined for 29 points, 17 for Watts and 12 for Louridas. Both players tied for the team-high with six rebounds. Savanna Lewis (So., Los Lunas, N.M.) was an effective third option for the Mids on Saturday as she shot four-for-four from the field for a career-high eight points.
“This was a tough game,” remarked head coach Tim Taylor. “We had good moments and sparks throughout the game, but just weren’t able to make that key stop on defense or key basket on offense when we were getting close. I thought we got a little better in certain aspects of the game. We still have not been able to be consistent for 40 minutes. We made some mistakes that a young team is going to make. We just have to keep growing from it. The season is still young and there’s so much potential with this team.”
The game opened evenly as both squads netted four points over the first three-plus minutes. Watts recorded all of the points for Navy on a quick two-for-two start from the field. From that spot at 6:56, Mount St. Mary’s showcased the brand of basketball that made them champions of the Northeast Conference last season and outscored Navy, 10-2 for the rest of the first quarter. Lewis converted the Mids’ only score in this span as she posted up a Mountaineer defense and shook her for an athletic layup.
Up 14-6, the Mount continued click on both ends of the court as it opened the second quarter on a 5-0 run over the first 96 seconds to extend its lead out to 19-6. Gia Pissott (Fr., Toms River, N.J.) ended the nine-point scoring run of the Mountaineers as Kate Samson (Fr., Richmond, Va.) found her near the basket for the easy layup at 8:11. With the score 19-8, the teams traded makes for the next three minutes as Navy scored five points, while the Mount tallied four to make it 23-13.
Over the final 5:27 of the half, the Mids shutout the Mountaineers and held the hosts to an 0-7 shooting performance. With Mount St. Mary’s stagnant on the scoreboard, Navy rattled off eight unanswered points courtesy of a pair of Mimi Schrader (Sr., Plymouth, Minn.) three-pointers and a Morganne Andrews (Jr., Martinsburg, W.Va.) layup. Defensively, the Mids allowed the Mountaineers to convert just two field goals in the period, though the hosts took advantage of five successful free throws.
The action in the third quarter started out extremely fast as Navy scored on its first three possessions, while the Mount scored on two of its first three. Samson was effective for the Mids in this early stretch with two baskets and an offensive rebound. This quick success evened the score at 27-27 at 7:58. The Mountaineers were unfazed by this challenge and responded with a 10-0 run over the next 2:25 to make it 37-27. Mount St. Mary’s continued to hold a lead between seven and 11 points for the remainder of the third quarter and took a 44-35 advantage into the quarter intermission.
The streakiness of the game flow carried on into the fourth quarter as neither squad made a basket over the initial 3:59 of the final period. The only points of the frame over that stretch were two free throws by Shannon Clarke (Fr., Lawrence, Kan.). Lewis sank her first shot of the fourth quarter at 6:01 and Clarke added a free throw at 5:28 to draw Navy within four points at 44-40. Missing all eight of their first eight shots from the field to start the period the Mountaineers’ offense found its rhythm and was unstoppable in the closing minutes of the contest with a perfect seven-for-seven showing from the field and a seven-of-eight mark at the free throw line for 24 points.
The Mids tried valiantly to hang with the hosts as they recorded five made baskets and six good free throws for 19 points of their own. Louridas and Watts were at the forefront of the Navy’s attack as Louridas sank a pair of three-pointers and free throws for eight individual points, while Watts posted seven points. At the conclusion of this chaotic end-to-end streak, the host Mountaineers were victorious, 68-59.
For the game, Mount St. Mary’s outshot Navy, 43.6 percent (24-55) to 39.6 (21-53) from the field and 94.1 percent (16-17) to 80.0 (12-15) from the foul line. Neither team was overly successful from three-point range as the Mids shot 29.4 percent (5-17) versus 18.2 percent for the Mountaineers (4-22).
Navy was active on the glass throughout the game and out-rebounded the Mount, 38-27. The Mids grabbed 12 offensive boards, while the Mountaineers only came down with five.
Navy will now turn its attention to its busiest week of 2022-23 so far with three home games on the docket starting Tuesday. First up for Navy is bout with Monmouth on Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in Alumni Hall. The week rounds out on Saturday and Sunday with the 2022 Navy Classic. The Mids are slated to play the Northern Illinois Huskies on Saturday at 1:30 p.m. before going head-to-head with the Idaho Vandals on Sunday at 1 p.m.