The Navy women’s basketball team played two drastically different halves on Wednesday night and saw a 10-point halftime lead disappear as a game Bucknell squad out-scored the hosts 46-18 in the second half at Alumni Hall.
The Mids (1-18, 1-8 PL) were successful in the first half and shot nearly 40 percent, while holding the Bison (7-13, 3-6 PL) to under 30 percent and forcing nine turnovers. A 17-0 swoon in the middle of the third quarter flipped the score from 36-27 in favor of Navy to 44-36 towards Bucknell. Following that run, the Bison never looked back and pulled away in the fourth quarter on their way to a 67-49 victory.
Lindsay Llewellyn (Sr., North East, Md.) and Maren Louridas (Fr., Delmar, N.Y.) led the Mids’ offensive effort with a combined 25 points as Llewellyn went for a team-high 14 points, while Louridas reached double figures with 11. The freshman added seven rebounds to her statline on Wednesday night.
“I feel like we took a lot of quick, ill-advised shots in the third quarter,” remarked head coach Tim Taylor. “We got down there and challenged their post players way too much. Our shot selection wasn’t very good and then it followed us onto the defensive end. When shots are falling young players play a lot harder and when they aren’t you saw it; we had some breakdowns. They almost shot 50 percent in the second half after we held them to under 30 in the first when we were really defending good
“They scored on their first two possessions of the second half and we started out by turning the ball over. When we began taking quick shots in the third quarter they [Bucknell] got some confidence going. We got out of the flow that was working for us in the first half. We really struggled to get in-sync. We didn’t share the ball well enough in the second half. Our distribution and looks in the first half were so much better. Not all of our shots were bad, we had some of the looks that we wanted, the ball just wasn’t going in for us in the second half.”
The game opened in Bucknell’s favor as the visitors opened with a 12-7 advantage through the first six-and-a-half minutes. A 10-0 run by Navy over the final 3:04 helped the Mids take a 17-12 lead into the first quarter intermission. Appearing for the first time all season after suffering a preseason injury, Bianca Coleman (Fr., Abington, Pa.) sparked this run for Navy as she drove the lane and dropped in a floating layup over Bucknell’s center. The next time down the court, Mimi Schrader (Sr., Plymouth, Minn.) found Llewellyn in the corner for a wide-open three-pointer at 2:26. Another Schrader to Llewellyn exchange resulted in Llewellyn’s second trey of the quarter at 1:15. Morganne Andrews (Jr., Martinsburg, W.Va.) netted the Mids’ final basket when she banked in a layup with 49 seconds remaining.
Invigorated by its strong close to the first quarter, Navy came out in the second and extended its scoring run out to 20-2 as it held Bucknell without a field goal until the 2:45 mark of the period. The Mids’ freshmen class scored six of the team’s first eight points as Louridas hit a pair of jumpers to augment Coleman’s second basket of the game. A slick defensive play by Llewellyn at 3:33 saw the senior steal the ball from Emma Theodorsson after she came down with the defensive rebound and almost immediately put the ball back in for an uncontested layup. With the score 27-14, the Bison got their offense in gear slightly with a short 7-2 run. Two free throws by Louridas with three seconds left finished the first half scoring at 31-21. Navy’s defense was particularly effective in the first half as it turned Bucknell over nine times and responded with 12 points off of turnovers, as well as with seven fast break points.
Trailing by 10 points, the Bison were effective early and often in the third quarter as they eliminated the Mids’ lead by the 3:59 mark of the period with a 15-5 run to re-open play. Tied at 36-36, Bucknell continued building on its success to the tune of an eventual 17-0 run to go up eight, 44-36 by 2:18. Louridas ended Navy’s 4:16 scoreless streak with a layup at 1:55. A trading of three-pointers, first by the Bison’s Remi Sisselman at 0:55 and later by Louridas as time expired left the two squads separated by six points after three quarters of action, 47-41.
Neither team was able to affect that margin much over the first three-plus minutes of play in the fourth as both Navy and Bucknell added four points to their respective efforts. With the score 51-45 and just over six minutes to go in regulation, the Bison ran off six unanswered points before Llewellyn tallied four straight of her own to draw her squad’s deficit back into single-digits at eight with 3:05 left. A 10-0 run to close the contest by Bucknell, including a 6-7 performance from the foul line helped the visitors garner the 18-point victory, 67-49.
For the game, Bucknell outshot Navy 39.7 percent (23-58) to 30.9 (21-68) from the field and 20.0 (4-20) to 16.7 (3-18) from three-point range. Only getting to the foul line five times, the Mids shot 80.0 percent (4-5), while the Bison hit on 77.3 percent of their 22 attempts (17-22).
The rebounding battle was a draw on Wednesday night as both squads ended with 43 caroms. Navy grabbed five more o-boards than Bucknell, 9-4. A trio of Mids ended with seven total rebounds each, Andrews, Louridas and Watts.
“When things get tough and we’re not making shots, we need to do a better job of defending,” said Taylor in closing. “They got us out in transition a few times and we didn’t get matched up. We need to do a better job defensively. That’s the hardest thing for a young team to do and we’re really struggling with that right now. That will be a significant priority for us to improve upon moving forward.”
Navy will next be in action on Saturday afternoon at nearby American University. Tip-off between the Mids and Eagles is set for 2 p.m. at Bender Arena in Washington, D.C.