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Navy women’s basketball loses leading scorer Jennifer Coleman

Navy's Jennifer Coleman, seen taking a shot against Kennesaw State, has been ruled academically ineligible.
Navy's Jennifer Coleman, seen taking a shot against Kennesaw State, has been ruled academically ineligible.(Paul W. Gillespie)

Navy women’s basketball will be without its best player for the remainder of the season, The Capital has learned.

A Navy athletics spokesman confirmed that Jennifer Coleman has been declared academically ineligible for the spring semester. The 5-foot-9 sophomore guard is permitted to practice with Navy women’s basketball but is not allowed to play in games or travel with the team.

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Coleman, who remains enrolled at the Naval Academy, will be on the bench during home games wearing her military uniform.

“Our staff and team will continue to support Jenn as she gets her academic situation in order to be eligible for our 2020-21 season,” Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper said in a statement. “Jenn has taken responsibility and wants very much to be a team leader next year, and one day serve as an officer in the United States Navy.”

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Coleman was Navy’s leading scorer through 10 games, averaging 10.4 points. She stands third on the team with 3.9 rebounds per game and second with 29 assists despite starting just two games this season.

Coleman has not played since Navy began the Patriot League portion of the schedule on Jan. 2. Her last appearance came in the final non-conference contest against St. Joseph’s on Dec. 30.

“We’ll miss her contributions in games, and have already made headway on others stepping into new roles. Our players and coaches are rallying, and Jenn has a unique opportunity to influence our program through selflessness and integrity," Pemper said.

Coleman enjoyed an outstanding freshman campaign – leading Navy in minutes played (29.6), scoring (13.1 points), rebounds (8.2) and assists (2.9). The Richmond, Virginia native was selected third team All-Patriot League and was also named to the All-Rookie team.

Coleman recorded eight double-doubles as a plebe and scored a career-high 25 points against American on March 6. Her season-high this season is 18 points, which she scored in a season-opening upset of Clemson and also against Kennesaw State.

Navy was already without its second-leading scorer in sophomore guard Kolbi Green, who was dismissed from the team in December. Green has not played since a Dec. 4 loss at Fairfield.

Junior forward Sophie Gatzounas and senior guard Morgan Taylor are now Navy’s leading scorers with both averaging 8.3 points.

Navy, which has lost five straight contests, hosts Bucknell on Wednesday night (7 p.m.) at Alumni Hall.

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