ANNAPOLIS, Md. – After a crisp, well-rounded start to its Patriot League opener on Friday afternoon, the Navy women’s basketball team found it hard to find that same spark in the second half versus the preseason league favorites Boston University and fell by a final score of 62-39 at Alumni Hall.
The Mids (0-12, 0-1 PL) opened with an excellent first quarter as they tallied 15 points, while holding the Terriers (6-6, 1-0 PL) to a season-low six points. In the second half, the visitors flipped the lead into its favor and never looked back with a dominant 38-17 advantage in scoring on its way to the 23-point victory.
Sydne Watts (Jr., Canton, Ga.) and Maren Louridas (Fr., Delmar, N.Y.) led Navy’s scoring attack as they combined for 28 points, 15 for Watts and 13 for Louridas. They each found success from long-range with three three-pointers a piece. The Mids’ effort on the glass was led by a career-high 13 rebounds by Morganne Andrews (Jr., Martinsburg, W.Va.).
“Boston is a veteran team,” remarked head coach Tim Taylor. “They’re the preseason Patriot League favorites for a reason. I just don’t think this was a 23-point game. Boston really settled down after the first quarter and started switching some things around on both ends of the court. It was an evenly-matched game into the third quarter until we turned the ball over four times in a two-minute stretch. We were trying too hard to thread the needle against a very good, experienced team. We were trying to get the ball inside and take advantage of our height, but we made risky passes over the top that got picked off and then it’s a run-out the other way. They were able to take advantage of our limited depth and run on us. That’s just a young team trying to do too much.
“When we were successful early on we were moving the basketball. In the second half, all of a sudden, we got away from that with our decision-making. We struggled late in the third into the fourth to make a shot. We have got to be better when our shots aren’t falling, we can’t hang our heads and let it affect us on the defensive end. That’s where we’ve got to have some toughness.”
The action opened with Navy posting its strongest defensive effort of the season as it held Boston University to just six points. Previously, the Mids staunchest defensive quarter was at Mount St. Mary’s on Nov. 19 when they allowed just nine points to the Mountaineers. With the explosive Terrier squad, that came in averaging 65.0 points, held in check, the Mids were able to slowly build out a six-point lead by the 3:17 mark at 9-3. Four different Navy players entered their name in the scoring column during this initial stretch highlighted by a Louridas three-pointer at 5:12. Three-pointers by Watts bolstered the Mids down the stretch as the junior sank long-range baskets at 2:44 and 0:32 to finish the quarter’s scoring at 15-6. The Terriers made their one and only field goal at 1:15 when Caitlin Weimar sank a jumper. Overall, the visitors were 1-13 from the field and 4-8 from the foul line.
Up by nine points to start the second quarter, Navy held that same advantage for over two minutes as both teams netted a three-pointer and a field goal. The Mids’ trey came courtesy of Watts at 7:47 to make it 20-11. A lull in Navy’s offense failed to net the squad any points for the next 7:16. During this scoreless streak, BU registered 13 unanswered points and jump ahead 24-20. A deep, pull-up jumper off of a Morgan Demos (Fr., Downers Grove, Ill.) screen by Mimi Schrader (Sr., Plymouth, Minn.) with 31 seconds left in the period closed the first half with a score of 24-22 in favor of Boston.
Schrader was an early catalyst for the Mids in the third quarter as she was on the receiving end of an Andrews’ offensive rebound and kick-out to the wing at 9:33 for a three-point basket. The game stayed within one possession as the teams traded baskets and small runs for the next three-plus minutes. With Boston ahead 32-29 at 6:06, the visitors to their then-largest lead of the game of five as Weimar scored the next time down the court. Trailing 34-29, Louridas sank a corner three-pointer at 3:58 to draw Navy within two. Unfortunately, a stretch of poor ball-handling and decision-making short-circuited the Mids’ offense and they went scoreless, while the Terriers scored nine points to go ahead 43-32 after three quarters of action. At the half, Navy was only charged with four turnovers before turning the ball over six times in the third quarter.
The late offensive slump by Navy carried over into the fourth quarter and Boston expanded its lead out to 23 points, 55-32 by the 5:25 mark. Louridas’ long-range marksmanship put an end to the Mids’ scoreless streak as she hit her third three-pointer of the game at 4:40 off of a Schrader pass. The game closed at a 23-point margin as BU added seven points, while Navy countered with four combined from Louridas and Kate Samson (Fr., Richmond, Va.).
For the game, Boston outshot Navy, 41.0 percent (25-61) to 21.2 (14-66) from the field. The Mids held a nominal 33.3 percent (7-21) to 31.3 (5-16) edge in three-point shooting, while both teams shot 50.0 percent from the free throw line as BU was 7-14 versus 4-8 for Navy. Coming into the contest, the Terriers were shooting 41.4 percent from three-point range and ranked fourth in NCAA Division I.
Boston out-rebounded Navy, 51-43, though the Mids had a 15-11 advantage in offensive rebounds. Andrews and Louridas paced Navy with carom totals of 13 and seven, respectively.
Defensively, the Mids forced nine Terrier turnovers and were credited with five steals. Navy blocked two shots, while Boston blocked a season-high nine shots.
“Defensively, I thought we were better for about three quarters, but we weren’t complete enough,” said Taylor in closing. “We also turned the ball over at inopportune times. They were able to get a lot of fast-break and run-outs for easy baskets. Defense can spark your offense that way. You’re not going to beat teams like Boston only playing 30 minutes of good basketball. We only had four turnovers at halftime and we’re right in the game; six turnovers in the third really hurt us.”
Tough early-season Patriot League action continues on Monday with a 12:30 p.m. road tilt at Holy Cross in Worcester, Mass. During the non-conference portion of their 2022-23 schedule, the Crusaders were a league-best 8-3.