ANNAPOLIS, Md. - In what couldn't have been a more even battle with 24 lead changes on the night, the Lafayette women's basketball team fell just short of a major upset in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament on Thursday evening in Annapolis, Md.
Second-seeded Navy held on in the overtime session and knocked off the seventh-seeded Leopards, 59-55, after a 29-29 stalemate at halftime and a 19-19 second-half, sending the game into extra time. The game marked the first Patriot League quarterfinal game since 2008 to go into a third session.
With 3.2 seconds remaining on the clock and the score tied at 48 apiece, sophomore Maddie Peabody's three was a shade off from the left corner and Navy came out on top in the overtime session for the win.
Junior co-captain Danielle Fiacco notched her eighth double-double of the season with 10 points and 10 rebounds, while sophomore co-captain Emily Homan tallied 12 points and six rebounds. Freshman Jamie O'Hare stuffed the stat sheet with 11 points, five rebounds, three assists, three steals and a block.
Navy's Jade Geif led all scorers with 20 points on the evening and Alix Membreno tallied a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds for the defending-champion Mids. Lafayette went 22-of-57 from the floor (38.6%) and made seven of its 18 three-point attempts (38.9%). Navy shot 24-for-61 from the field (38.9%) and 5-for-18 from beyond the arc (27.8%).
Holding for the last shot with about 30 seconds left, Peabody handed it off to O'Hare, who kicked it back to Maddie with three seconds left and she just missed a three as Navy took over with 1.3 seconds left in regulation. The Mids' Alix Membreno's shot from just inside halfcourt went long and the game advanced to overtime.
Navy was the first to score in overtime as Membreno picked off a Peabody pass and took it the length of the court to put the Mids up two, 50-48. With 3:25 to go, Navy took its largest lead since the 17:30 mark of the first half as Chloe Stapleton knocked down a three from the right wing to put the Mids up five, 53-48.
Membreno scored again at the two-minute mark to net the seventh-straight point for the Mids in the overtime session and put Navy up, 55-48. With 1:44 to play, Lafayette finally got on the board as junior Madeline Fahan hit a triple from the left wing to cut the lead to four, 55-51. However, Pollinger answered for the Mids as her jumper went through and pushed the lead to six, 57-51.
After a Homan layup and a timeout from head coach Dianne Nolan, Geif scored at the end of the shot clock to put the Mids back up six with 30 seconds to go. Lafayette refused to go away, though, as Fahan hit another jumper to make the score, 59-55, with 19.2 seconds on the clock.
Navy moved the ball around quickly as the Leopards couldn't come up with a foul until the 4.1-second mark. A missed free throw and a last-second heave went wide as Navy sealed the 59-55 overtime victory.
The game was played within a three-point margin for the entire second-half and neither side extended its lead more than five for the entire game until the overtime session.
Lafayette finishes the season with an overall mark of 11-19, going 4-10 in the Patriot League, improving its win total from the 2011-12 season by three, including two more League wins.
Lafayette Athletics, as a partner in the mission of the College, provides an incredibly effective learning experience for student-athletes through competitive NCAA Division I athletics. Lafayette sponsors 23 varsity sports with more than 600 student-athletes.
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