Navy Rallies Past Women's Basketball in Patriot League Opener

Danielle Fiacco, the nation's second-most prolific shot blocker, sent back three Navy offerings to improve her career total to 138 and move into ninth place all-time in Patriot League history.

Jan. 7, 2012

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EASTON, Pa. - In a game defined by scoring runs, visiting Navy made the last one to rally past the Lafayette women's basketball team, 60-55, in the Leopards' Patriot League opener. Emily Homan and Madeline Fahan both scored in double figures for Lafayette with 16 and 12 points, respectively.

With the loss, the Leopards fall to 6-10 overall and 0-1 in Patriot League play. Navy, last season's league champion, improves to 8-7 and begins its title defense at 1-0.

Nine of Homan's 16 points came in the second half, as the reigning Patriot League Player and Rookie of the Week shot 7-for-13 from the field and 2-for-3 from the free throw line on the afternoon. Fahan's 12 points were fueled by a career-best three three-pointers and supplemented by eight rebounds in 33 minutes of action. As a team, the Leopards shot 21-for-60 (35 percent) from the floor, 6-for-18 (33.3 percent) from deep and 7-for-9 (77.8 percent) from the charity stripe.

Danielle Fiacco and Ashley Springer tallied six points apiece, and Brya Freeland netted five. Melissa Downey added four and a trio of Leopards - Maddie Peabody, Samantha Jordan and Sarah McGorry - rounded out the scoring with two points apiece. Fiacco led the rebounding effort with 10 boards, but Lafayette was outworked on the glass, 42-37.

Fiacco, the nation's second-most prolific shot blocker, sent back three Navy offerings to improve her career total to 138 and move into ninth place all-time in Patriot League history. The sophomore, who also surpassed 300 career rebounds in her 37th collegiate game this afternoon, ranks second all-time at Lafayette behind Lenora Johnson '81, who registered 160 rejections from 1978-81.

Lafayette committed a season-low eight turnovers, but Navy protected the basketball as well and made just eight miscues of its own.

Navy, the Patriot League's most proficient and most efficient three-point shooting club, was right around its averages with seven treys on 20 attempts (35 percent). However, timing was more important that quantity for the Mids, who shot 5-for-12 (41.7 percent) from beyond the arc in the second half. Navy was also 19-for-54 (35.2 percent) from the floor overall and 15-for-21 (71.4 percent) from the free throw line.

The squads raced out to a 10-10 deadlock with 14:12 remaining. The Lafayette defense clamped down at that juncture, holding Navy without a field goal under Jade Geif scored with just 1.3 seconds to play. Offensively, the Leopards put together a 20-8 stretch over the final 14-plus minutes to head to the locker room holding a 30-18 lead.

The Leopards held Navy to just 5-for-28 (17.9 percent) shooting over the first 20 minutes of action while connecting on 12-of-30 (40 percent) field goals on the offensive end. The Leopards also held the advantage on the boards, 22-20, and in points-off-turnovers, 5-0. Fahan led all players with nine first-half points.

Unlike Wednesday's victory over Columbia, the Leopards' strong finish to the opening period would not continue in the second half. Navy netted the first nine points of the stanza as a part of an 18-6 run that included four three-pointers in a span of 1:48 to knot the score at 36-36. After each club connected on one of two attempts from the free throw, a triple from Springer sparked a 7-0 spurt that put the Leopards back on top, 44-37, with 10:20 left. Navy's response, however, proved to be the decisive run as a 16-0 stretch but the visitors on top for good, 53-44, with less than four minutes remaining.

The Leopards soon found themselves trailing by nine points, 57-48, at the 1:29 mark. But a Fiacco jumper, two Jordan free throws and a Fahan three-pointer - with a pair of defensive stops in between - cut the deficit back down to a single possession at 57-55 with 25 seconds to play. However, Navy would hit three of four free throws down the stretch and the Leopards never scored again in a 60-55 loss.

Navy's Audrey Bauer and Kara Pollinger led all players with 18 points apiece. Alix Membreno netted nine points and grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds for the Mids.

The first road game of the Leopards' Patriot League slate brings Lafayette to Army on Wednesday, Jan. 11. Action from Christl Arena at West Point begins at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast live on The Black Knights are 6-9 entering their Patriot League opener at Bucknell (2-13) later this evening.