Celebrating its senior class prior to the game, the Navy women’s basketball team fell victim to numerous unforced errors versus Holy Cross and a long drought in the third quarter that turned a 33-30 score into a 51-34 game through three quarters. At the conclusion of Saturday’s contest at Alumni Hall, the Crusasders (17-5, 9-2 PL) were victorious over the Mids (1-21, 1-10 PL) by a score of 71-52.
Individually, a trio of Navy players reached double-figures on Saturday as Morganne Andrews (Jr., Martinsburg, W.Va.), Maren Louridas (Fr., Delmar, N.Y.) and Sydne Watts (Jr., Canton, Ga.) all finished with 10 points. Andrews earned her first career double-double as she added 13 rebounds to go along with two assists and two steals. Louridas had a well-rounded line score as she had an additional nine rebounds, six assists and a block. Coming off the bench in deference of Lindsay Llewellyn (Sr., North East, Md.) on her Senior Day, Watts went 5-11 from the field with four rebounds and a steal over 32 minutes. Llewellyn nearly made it four Mids in double-figures as she netted nine points with a game-high three steals.
“Today’s game was the epitome of this season,” remarked head coach Tim Taylor. “We spotted them a 9-0 run over the first three minutes and then later we give them 12 unanswered over three-and-a-half minutes in the third quarter. We play 32-34 minutes of really good, competitive basketball, but get hit with six-to-eight minutes every game where we just can’t find an answer. We’re a young team that is still learning how to win. One turnover turned into another turnover that led to another one. We made some mistakes and they capitalized. We had 19 turnovers and gave up 17 points off those turnovers. That’s been an issue we’ve been dealing with all season.They’re a good team, there’s a reason they’re right up near the top of the standings. It’s never effort with this team, we want to win and fight all 40 minutes.
“We took 10 more shots than they did, we out-rebounded them, we had as many assists as they had. It just came down to points off of turnovers and free throws. We put them at the foul line way too much. We need to learn how to defend without fouling. That’s one of the hardest things for freshmen coming into the college game is how to play defense and how to do it without fouling. Foul trouble was definitely a factor in today’s outcome. They took 25 foul shots and we took five.”
The visiting Crusaders started off the action on Saturday with a fast 9-0 run over the first 2:14 of play. Unfazed by the quick start of Holy Cross, Navy got right back into the game with baskets on back-to-back possessions both courtesy of offensive rebounds, as Louridas recovered her own miss before passing off to Andrews for a jumper at 6:15. Next time down it was a Gia Pissott (Fr., Toms River, N.J.) offensive rebound and immediate kick-out to Louridas for a three-pointer. With the score 9-5, Holy Cross re-asserted itself and pulled away over the last four minutes of the quarter with eight of the final 12 points.
Ahead 17-9, the visitors broke out to a double-digit lead with 10-point margins of 19-9 and 21-11 in the first two minutes of the second quarter. Down but not out, the Mids immediately fired back with a 6-0 run on the backs of two jumpers by Watts and a third by Bianca Coleman (Fr., Abington, Pa.). Holy Cross didn’t allow Navy to extend its momentum further as Bronagh Power-Cassidy knocked down a three-pointer at 6:03. That trey kick-started a 10-4 run to close the stanza at a 31-21 advantage for the Crusaders.
The glimpses that the Mids showed at times during the first half came through to begin the third quarter as they scored nine of the first 11 points to draw within three points, 33-30 by the 5:58 mark. Navy’s well-balanced attack saw four different players registered field goals with Louridas’ ‘and-one’ conversion capping the run. Similar to the second quarter, Holy Cross used the deep ball to short-circuit the host’s push, as Addisyn Cross and Power-Cassidy went back-to-back with three-pointers. Trailing 39-30, Andrews and Watts were on the receiving end of Louridas assists to return it back to a two-possession game. From that point of the quarter at 3:34, Navy was held scoreless as Holy Cross posted the last 12 points to go up 51-34 after 30 minutes of action.
The fourth quarter was back-and-forth as the Mids were unable to get closer than 15 during the initial five minutes of the period. With the score 61-42 at 5:54, an 8-2 run by Navy over the next 90 seconds made it a 63-50 contest. Three-pointers by Llewellyn and Coleman spurred on the Mids during this stretch. Unfortunately, Navy wouldn’t be able to edge closer as Holy Cross registered eight of the final 10 points to earn the 71-52 victory.
For the game, Holy Cross outshot Navy 41.8 percent (23-55) to 36.9 (24-65) from field. Neither side had much success from three-point range with the Mids finishing with a 27.3 percent (3-11) to 18.8 (3-16) edge. In a leading storyline from the contest, Holy Cross outshot Navy from the foul line, 88.0 percent (22-25) to 20.0 (1-5).
The Mids won the rebounding battle by 11, 44-33 on the strength of a 17-7 advantage in offensive boards. Navy converted those extra chances into 17 points on Saturday. Andrews once again dominated the glass as she grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds with seven coming on the offensive end. Over the last two games, the junior has recorded 30 caroms. In 11 Patriot League games, Andrews is averaging 9.1 rebounds per contest.
Navy’s ball-handling proved troublesome versus Holy Cross as the Mids were charged with 19 turnovers, that directly resulted in 17 points for the Crusaders.
Prior to the game, Navy recognized its Class of 2023 with a Senior Day ceremony as Imani Edmonds, Lindsay Llewellyn and Mimi Schrader, as well as head team manager Olivia Shapiro were honored by the program
“The biggest thing when you look at people is how do they handle adversity? How do they show up every day when things aren’t going well?” remarked Taylor about Navy’s senior class. “These seniors put one foot in front of the other. They show up every day, they compete and they play hard regardless of the outcome. They’ve done that the entire time I’ve been here. They play 40 minutes. They provide us with so much leadership. With our record right now, most people would be mailing it in, but not these women. They haven’t mailed it in, not one day, whether in practice, games or in the Hall. Hats off to them. The United States Navy and United States Marine Corps should be grateful for the leaders that they’re going to get.”
Navy will be back in Patriot League action on Wednesday with a road tilt at Bucknell. Tip-off between the Mids and Bison is set for 6 p.m. in Lewisburg, Pa.