ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Navy junior Kara Pollinger and sophomore Chloe Stapleton scored 24 and 19 points, respectively, to lead the Mids to a 72-53 triumph over Holy Cross in the Patriot League Women's Basketball Championship at Alumni Hall on Saturday evening. With the win, Navy improves to 21-11 on the season and will represent the Patriot League in the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament. With the defeat, Holy Cross concludes its season at 18-14. Holy Cross junior guards Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) and Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) were voted to the 2013 Patriot League All-Tournament Team.
Navy jumped out to an early 5-0 lead just 1:08 into the contest, but the Crusaders answered with four points to trail the Mids 5-4 with 17:55 on the clock. Smith then scored five straight points to give HC the 9-7 lead with 15:31 left in the first. Navy, however, surged ahead with a 12-0 rally to gain the 19-9 advantage at the 9:12 mark of the half. Holy Cross answered with an 8-4 run to cut the deficit to 23-17 (6:25). Malone scored six points during the burst, but the Mids countered with a 10-2 run to gain the 33-19 lead with 2:58 on the clock. Holy Cross scored a layup to end the half and went into the locker room down 33-21.
On the first possession after the half, Malone drilled a three-pointer to cut the margin to single-digits, but Navy countered with five points in a row to gain the 14-point lead (38-24) with 18:01 on the clock. The Crusaders then worked the deficit to six points (39-33) as they went on a 9-1rally as Smith drilled a three-pointer with 14:26 remaining in the second half. Navy, however, could not miss from long range, as it connected on back-to-back treys to go ahead, 45-33 at the 11:49 mark. The Crusaders worked the margin to eight points on two occasions, as they trailed 50-42 with 9:52 on the clock, but could not get any closer. Over the final 10 minutes of the contest, Navy drilled four three-pointers compared to zero for Holy Cross, as the Mids would go on to win the championship, 72-53.
Malone led the Crusaders with 17 points, four assists and three steals in the contest, as Smith scored 10 points and had a trio of helpers. Holy Cross freshman forward Raquel Scott (Ridgewood, N.J.) tallied eight points and hauled in a team-best 10 rebounds. Senior forward Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) posted four points and five rebounds. In addition to Pollinger and Stapleton for Navy, Jade Geif tallied nine points and game-high 12 rebounds as Alix Membreno posted 10 points and a game-best seven assists.
Holy Cross shot 35.6 percent from the field (21 of 59) as Navy connected on 26 of its 58 shots (44.8 percent). The Mids drilled 13 of their 29 shots from behind the arc (44.8 percent) as the Crusaders were limited to 20 percent from downtown (4 of 20). Holy Cross hit 63.6 percent of its attempts from the free throw line (7 of 11) as Navy made 7 of 14 from the charity stripe (50 percent).
The Crusaders held advantages in blocked shots (4-2), points in the paint (24-20) and bench points (18-2).
Membreno was named Tournament MVP as Geif, Stapleton and Pollinger were each selected to the All-Tournament Team.