The Lafayette women’s basketball team enters the Patriot League Tournament as the seven seed and will look to knock off second-seeded Navy on Thursday evening in the quarterfinal round. The Leopards (11-18, 4-10) take on the Mids (18-11, 11-3) for the third time this season at 7 p.m. inside Alumni Hall. Navy holds a 40-20 advantage over Lafayette in its history, and took the last meeting on Feb. 9 in Easton, 60-52 in overtime.
PATRIOT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT- QUARTERFINAL ROUND
The final games of the regular season on Saturday weren’t without surprises as Holy Cross needed a score on its final possession to take care of Colgate and Navy was upset by Bucknell in the last game of the day. With American defeated Lafayette and Army pulling off a comeback win over Lehigh, the first round of the tournament goes as follows.
Top-seeded Army will take on eighth-seeded Colgate, while seventh-seeded Lafayette will travel to second-seeded Navy. Third-seeded American will host sixth-seeded Bucknell and finally, fourth-seeded Holy Cross will take on Lehigh in Worcester, Mass.
LEOPARDS’ LAST TIME OUT
Despite a late comeback effort that cut a 23-point lead down under 10 with 3:18 to play, Lafayette did not have enough to overcome American on Saturday afternoon in Washington, D.C., falling to the Eagles, 69-52.
Freshman Jamie O’Hare put together her best game since Jan. 30, tallying 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting and 3-of-7 from beyond the arc to lead the Leopards offensively. Co-captains junior Danielle Fiacco and sophomore Emily Homan each notched 12 points in the loss and snagged eight and six rebounds, respectively.
Lafayette shot much better than it did against Colgate on Feb. 27, going 20-for-48 from the field (41.7%) and 4-for-13 from three-point range (30.8%).
The Leopards held a 30-24 rebounding advantage and came away with 11 second-chance points.
American’s Jen Dumiak led all scorers with 16 points, while Geleisa George and Alexis Dobbs recorded 15 and 13 points, respectively. The Eagles connected on 23 of their 47 attempts from the field (48.9%) and went 6-of-14 from distance (30.8%).
SCOUTING THE MIDS
Navy comes into Thursday night’s Patriot League quarterfinal matchup as the number two seed in the League. The Mids finished the regular season 18-11 overall and 11-3 in the Patriot League. Navy earned a share of the regular season title, but lost the tiebreaker to Army for the top seed. The Mids won both contests with Lafayette this season, including a 60-52 overtime victory in Easton. Navy comes into the game winners of three of its last four, with the lone loss coming Saturday at Bucknell.
The Mids are led by Patriot League Preseason Player of the Year, Jade Geif. The junior forward is averaging 13.1 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. The Minnesota native has been named Patriot League Player of the Week three times this season.
Junior guard Alix Membreno is second on the team in both scoring (11.2 PPG) and rebounding (6.5 RPG). Membreno also leads the team in steals with 47. Classmate Kara Pollinger averages 10.6 points per game and has a team-high 109 assists this season.
Sophomore guard Chloe Stapleton (9.4 PPG) and junior forward Audrey Bauer (8.5 PPG, 4.7 RPG) round out the starting five for Navy.
The Mids lead the Patriot League in three-point field goals made with 211 this season, and they are second in scoring defense (51.7 PPG) and scoring margin (+6.3).
ROAMING THE SIDELINE
Lafayette head coach Dianne Nolan enters today’s matchup with a career record of 547-475 and a 30-59 mark in her third year at Lafayette. On the other side, Navy head coach Stephanie Pemper is in her fifth season with the Mids holding a career record of 324-114 and is 99-66 in Annapolis.
NOT SO LIDDLE PRODUCTION
Junior forward Kristan Liddle has been a terrific role player for the Leopards this season, averaging just 1.5 points per game and 2.6 boards per contest. What doesn’t show in her stats, though, is her play on the defensive end as she has provided the Leopards with speed and mobility in the post.
Liddle tied a career-high with seven rebounds in the 69-52 loss to American on Saturday.
With her eight rebounds in the game against American on Saturday afternoon, junior Danielle Fiacco sits in the 10th spot in the Lafayette record books for career rebounds with 636. Additionally, Fiacco became just the seventh player in Lafayette history to snag more than 200 rebounds in multiple seasons, doing so against Lehigh on Feb. 23. She currently sits at 219 for the year, grabbing 248 boards in 2011-12.
FOUND A PEANUT
Sophomore guard Maddie Peabody has taken advantage of her increased minutes during the second half of Patriot League play. Peabody notched career-highs in minutes with 28 each in the wins over Lehigh and Colgate and dropped a career-high nine points against the Mountain Hawks. Against Colgate, she set another career mark, this time in rebounds, as the 5’5” guard went in among the trees and ripped down six boards. Her jumper from the right elbow with 1:39 remaining helped seal the win over American on Feb. 2.
She notched a new career-high with 10 points in the overtime loss to Navy on Feb. 9, also tallying a season-high four field goals, including two in the final four minutes to send the game to an extra session. Peabody topped that mark yet again against Army as she tallied 14 points on 4-of-5 shooting from beyond the three-point arc, both new career-high’s.
Continuing her coming-out party, Peabody tallied 15 points in the overtime win at Bucknell on Feb. 16. She hit two key free throws down the stretch to put Lafayette in position to tie the game on Alicia Manning’s buzzer-beater. Peabody notched yet another career-high in the losses to Lehigh and Colgate this past week, snagging seven rebounds in each contest for the Maroon and White.
THE ALL-TIME SERIES
Navy holds a 40-20 advantage in a series that dates back to Feb. 16, 1980 with a commanding 25-6 advantage in games played in Annapolis. Seven of the last 10 encounters have been decided by single figures. The Mids swept the Leopards in the regular season with a 62-44 win in Annapolis and a 60-52 overtime victory in Easton.
Head coach Dianne Nolan’s halftime speeches have been working this season, as the Leopards have clearly been a second-half team this year. Lafayette has posted a higher number in the second half compared to the first in 21 of its 29 games in 2012-13. Against Providence (12/30), the Leopards doubled their first-half output in the second, putting up 36 points in the final 20 minutes compared to 18 points in the opening stanza.
Additionally, the overtime loss to Navy was Lafayette’s first loss this season when leading going into the halftime break. The Leopards were down by 16 at the break on Feb. 16 versus Bucknell, but came out on fire with a 34-18 second-half advantage and an 11-6 overtime edge.
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