WORCESTER, Mass. – For the second game in a row, the Navy women’s basketball team challenged one of the Patriot League’s best squads and was within one possession late into the third quarter before Holy Cross took advantage of the Mids’ foul trouble and pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 53-40 decision on Monday afternoon. The contest at Holy Cross’ Hart Center saw the Crusaders (10-3, 2-0 PL) hold a 32-29 lead over the Mids (0-13, 0-2 PL) until the hosts rattled off a 13-3 run from the end of the third into the fourth quarter to break open the game.

Kate Samson (Fr., Richmond, Va.) led Navy’s offense with 11 points on an efficient five-of-seven shooting effort on Monday. Off the bench, Sam Schofield (Jr., Maumee, Ohio) was the Mids’ second-leading scorer with a pair of three-pointers.

“I thought we competed well defensively and are starting to make strides on that end,” remarked head coach Tim Taylor. “Offensively, our execution at times was not on the level it needs to be in tight games to win. We have to be more aware of play calls and being in the right positions to be successful. It led to several turnovers and Holy Cross capitalized.”

Samson sparked Navy early as she took the team’s first four shots and converted three field goals to give the Mids a 6-2 lead by the 8:29 mark of the first quarter. Holy Cross was unfazed by this early run and immediately responded with 10 unanswered points over the next five-plus minutes. Mimi Schrader (Sr., Plymouth, Minn.) got Navy back in the scoring column as she pulled up for a three-pointer from the top of the arc at 3:22. The three-point shot paid dividends again for the Mids as Morgan Demos (Fr., Downers Grove, Ill.) quickly passed out of the post to a wide open Schofield in the corner. Schofield’s trey tightened the game to one, 14-13 in favor of Holy Cross. A late Crusader field goal made it 16-13 through one quarter.

Once again a quick start by the Mids to begin the quarter saw the visitors score the first five points. Gia Pissott (Fr., Toms River, N.J.) scored the opening basket as Schrader drove towards the lane and kicked out to Pissott on the wing for a three-pointer on Navy’s initial possession. Morganne Andrews (Jr., Martinsburg, W.Va.) put the Mids up 18-16 at 8:15 with a fadeaway hook shot. A near four-minute dry spell by Navy allowed Holy Cross to push ahead slowly, 20-18. The three-pointer once again bolstered the Mids’ attack as Schofield sank her second trey of the game at 4:21 to make it a 21-20 score. A 6-2 run to close the half gave the Crusaders a slight 26-23 lead going into the intermission. Navy was held back significantly in the first half by 16 turnovers.

Similar to the first quarter, Samson was the catalyst for the Mids’ early success as she netted the first four points over the opening 2:12. The 27-26 score stayed static until the 5:17 mark when Holy Cross received a three-pointer from Bronagh Power-Cassidy. A trading of baskets made it 32-29 with 3:41 left to go. Defense won out for the next two minutes until the Crusaders scored four points over the final 90 seconds to go up 36-29 through 30 minutes of action.

Each team recorded three points during the first 2:07 of the fourth quarter and the margin stayed at seven, 39-32. An extended 12-2 run by Holy Cross over the next 5:34 broke the game open for the hosts. With the score 51-34, Navy closed the game with six of the final eight points to complete the contest at 53-40.

For the game, Navy outshot Holy Cross from the field, 33.3 percent (16-48) to 32.7 (18-55) and from three-point range, 35.7 percent (5-14) to 21.1 (4-19). The Crusaders made the most of their 16 free throw attempts and shot 81.3 percent (13-16). The Mids were just three-of-five from the charity stripe.

Navy also won the rebounding battle with a 37-36 edge on the boards. Sydne Watts (Jr., Canton, Ga.) grabbed a game-high eight caroms. Andrews was also active with six rebounds on Monday.

Ball-handling was an issue for the Mids as they were charged with 23 turnovers. Defensively, they forced the Crusaders into 12 miscues.

“These games will continue to make our young players grow and improve,” said Taylor in closing. “Every experience is new and they will continue to learn. You see glimpses from each one of the freshmen at times. We just need to be more consistent.”

Navy will have another quick turnaround in Patriot League play as it will host Colgate on Thursday in Annapolis. Tip-off between the Mids and Raiders is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Alumni Hall.

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