ANNAPOLIS, Md. – The Navy women’s basketball team dropped an 87-50 decision to Northern Illinois on Saturday in the first day of action at the 2022 Navy Classic. The Huskies (5-1) were hitting on all cylinders throughout the contest on both sides of the court and led the Mids (0-6) wire-to-wire. The visitors shot 48 percent from the field and 50 percent from three-point range, while holding the hosts to just a 14 percent mark from three-point range and 22 turnovers.

Sydne Watts (Jr., Canton, Ga.) and Kate Samson (Fr., Richmond, Va.) led Navy’s individual efforts with 11 points each. Maren Louridas (Fr., Delmar, N.Y.) nearly gave the Mids three players in double figures as she finished with eight points.

“NIU is a very talented and well-rounded team,” remarked head coach Tim Taylor. “We knew that they have the ability to play both inside and out at a high level. Defensively, we weren’t able to shut down either of those avenues today. Offensively, we didn’t do a good enough job handling the ball and making shots when we needed to. We’ll have a quick turnaround before playing Idaho. Tomorrow is another chance to get better.”

The action opened strongly in NIU’s favor as the visitors tallied 13 of the first 15 games over the initial 3:35 of play. A nifty post-up move by Gia Pissott (Fr., Toms River, N.J.) at 6:25 ended the Huskies’ run and made it a 13-4 game. The teams traded baskets for the next three-plus minutes as the score advanced to 17-8. Watts and Samson were the scorers for Navy during this stretch. Another Watts basket drew the Mids within seven at 17-10 with 2:42 left in the period. A sharp-shooting Huskies squad took over in the final minutes and rattled off 10 unanswered points on four-of-five shooting, including a pair of three-pointers to send the game into the break at 27-10.

Credit: Navy Athletics

Navy wasted little time attacking its deficit as Shannon Clarke (Fr., Lawrence, Kan.) found a cutting Morganne Andrews (Jr., Martinsburg, W.Va.) for a layup on the Mids’ first possession. Another crisp pass deep into the post by Andrews to Morgan Demos (Fr., Downers Grove, Ill.) the next time down the court for Navy and later an offensive rebound and putback by Kelli Giuliani (Fr., Oakton, Va.) at 7:46 made it a 30-16 game. From that point in the quarter to the halftime intermission, NIU ran off a 17-0 streak that was further extended to 22-2 to close the scoring at 52-18.

The Mids had their most productive scoring quarter coming out of halftime in the third as they posted 21 points on 6-of-19 shooting from the field and 7-of-9 from the foul line. Watts and Samson spearheaded Navy’s attack with seven points each during the third stanza. Watts used a three-pointer and two free throws to bolster her statline, while Samson scored most of her points at the foul line with a perfect five-for-five showing. Unfortunately for the Mids, their defense wasn’t able to slow down the high-scoring Huskies much as the visitors went for 19 points in the stanza to hold a 71-39 lead through 30 minutes of play.

Northern Illinois continued to keep its foot on the offensive pedal during the fourth quarter and sealed the victory by a score 87-50. The bench trio of Savanna Lewis (So., Los Lunas, N.M.), Sam Schofield (Jr., Maumee, Ohio) and Clarke combined to score eight of Navy’s 11 points, while Louridas sank her second three-pointer of the game during the final stanza.

For the game, NIU outshot Navy 47.9 percent (34-71) to 32.3 (20-62) from the field, 50.0 percent (12-24) to 14.3 (3-21) from three-point range and 63.6 percent (7-11) to 58.3 (7-12) from the free throw line.

In the rebounding category, the Huskies outnumbered the Mids, 44-40. Both teams were extremely active on the offensive glass as Navy finished with 18 o-boards versus 17 for NIU. Andrews led the Mids with five rebounds. In total, five different Navy players grabbed four or more caroms.

Navy will be conclude the 2022 Navy Classic on Sunday afternoon with a 1 p.m. matchup versus Idaho. The Vandals are coming off of an 80-49 loss to Richmond Spiders in the nightcap of Saturday’s Navy Classic doubleheader.

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