EASTON, Pa. – A week removed from its upset of Patriot League-leading American, the Lafayette women’s basketball team brought that same fight to Kirby Sports Center on Saturday afternoon. Unfortunately, the result was different as Navy snapped the Leopards’ three-game win streak, 60-52, in overtime.
The game was a tale of three periods as the first-half was dominated by missed shots and turnovers. Lafayette led 20-16 at the break, holding Navy to a tie of its lowest-scoring half of the season. In the second, it was the opposite as Navy doubled its first-half total with 32 points to Lafayette’s 28. In the overtime, it was all Navy as the Leopards managed just four points on 2-of-7 shooting compared to the Mids’ 12 on 4-of-6 from the floor.
It was Senior Day in Easton as senior co-captain Alicia Manning came up with multiple key shots toward the end of regulation to help the Leopards force overtime. She finished with a season-high 10 points on 4-of-6 shooting and went 2-for-3 from behind the three-point line. Fellow senior Samantha Jordan added two points and a rebound, while classmate Ashley Springer finished with two boards, an assist and a steal.
Sophomore Maddie Peabody notched a career-high with 10 points and Homan was the third Leopard in double figures with 12. Sophomore co-captain Emily Homan added four rebounds, three assists, two blocks and a steal to round out her stat line. Lafayette held a 42-41 advantage on the glass and used 16 assists on its 23 field goals. For Navy, preseason Patriot League player of the year Jade Geif led all scorers with 19 points, 15 of which came in the second half and overtime. Membreno also added 18 for the Mids on 8-of-12 shooting from the field (66.6%).
With 4:28 to go in the second half, Navy extended its lead to two possessions on a Bauer jumper from the elbow to make it 41-37. Peabody’s two free throws, though, tied the game again at 41 apiece with three minutes to play.
Then, Geif made a move around junior co-captain Danielle Fiacco with under two minutes left to put the Mids on top by two, 43-41. A shot clock violation from the Leopards with 1:17 on the clock created an important defensive possession for Lafayette. Navy found an open Stapleton at the top of the key and she nailed her second three of the contest to put the Mids up five, 46-41.
There was no quit in the Leopards though, as Manning fittingly drained a three from the right corner on the ensuing possession to pull the squad within two at 46-44 with 47.6 seconds on the clock.
With 27.8 seconds remaining Navy’s Alix Membreno drove down the left side of the Lafayette defense. Peabody stepped in front of her at the last possible moment and drew the all-important charge to give the Leopards a chance at tying the game.
Lafayette’s senior came up huge again as Manning drove down the right side of the lane and hit an off-balance leaner with 13.3 seconds to play to tie the game at 46. Regulation was far from over at this point, though, as Membreno took the inbounds pass for Navy and drove right to the basket, hitting a step-back five-footer to put Navy up, 48-46.
Then, with 9.2 seconds remaining, Peabody took it the length of the floor, finishing on the right side of the basket to tie it up at 48. Navy couldn’t get a last-second shot off with 3.3 seconds to play and the game went to overtime.
Lafayette opened the overtime period with an empty possession, while Navy’s Bauer drained a three from the top of the key to give the Mids the three-point lead, 51-48. Peabody again was resilient as she dropped in a floater to cut the lead to one, 51-50, with 3:47 on the clock.
Geif again was able to score over Fiacco at the 2:38 mark to put the Mids up three, but Fiacco answered on the other end with a corner jumper, making the score, 53-52 as the clock approached two minutes.
With 1:46 to play, Geif picked up her second bucket of the overtime to push the lead to three again, 55-52. After another empty possession from the Leopards, Membreno came up with a strong drive down the right side of the lane to extend the lead to five, 57-52 with 1:02 to play.
With 29.7 seconds on the clock and Lafayette down by five, the Leopards were forced to foul. A combination of Navy free throws and Lafayette missed shots put the Maroon and White away as Navy took the overtime victory, 60-52.
The Leopards led the majority of the contest as Kara Pollinger’s lay-up at the 7:19 mark gave Navy its first lead of the game. The contest featured four lead changes and six ties.
With the win, the Mids move to 7-1 in the Patriot League and 14-9 overall. Lafayette drops to 3-5 in League play and 10-13 overall.
Next up for the Maroon and White is a trip to West Point, N.Y. on Wednesday evening to take on Army at 7 p.m.
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