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Navy women’s basketball drops third straight; second-leading scorer Kolbi Green leaves program

Navy senior guard Kolbi Green, driving to the basket against American last season, has left the Navy women's basketball program.
Navy senior guard Kolbi Green, driving to the basket against American last season, has left the Navy women's basketball program. (Paul W. Gillespie/Capital Gazette)

Navy women’s basketball closed out a six-game homestand with its third straight loss and the coaching staff must now contemplate how to generate more offense as the Patriot League portion of the schedule looms.

Senior guard Jennifer Coleman continued her season-long scoring spree with 23 points, but the rest of the team could not muster much more than that as Navy lost to Morgan State, 71-50, Thursday night at Alumni Hall.

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Junior guard Mimi Schrader and sophomore forward Sydne Watts scored six points apiece for the Midshipmen, who shot 30.8 % (16-for-52) from the field. Schrader was the only player to connect from beyond the arc as the Mids went 1-for-9 on 3-pointers.

Senior forward and team captain Ciera Hertelendy scored all five of her points from the free throw line, while freshman forward Savanna Lewis matched that output.

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Coleman pulled down a team-high nine rebounds and posted a double-double in the wrong way with 10 turnovers. She had two steals and just one assist as teammates struggled to make baskets.

As a team, Navy only had seven assists with Coleman creating much of the offense for herself. Starting guard Imani Edmonds was limited to one point while three reserves went scoreless while playing a combined 32 minutes.

Graduate student Dahnye Redd posted a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds to lead Morgan State (4-4), which harassed Navy into 24 turnovers. Senior forward Charlene Shepherd added 13 points and six boards for the Bears, who finished with nine steals.

“We weren’t ready to play tonight and didn’t set the tone early. Morgan State did a really good job of disrupting what we were trying to do. They were tougher than we were and more physical throughout,” Navy second-year coach Tim Taylor said. “This is the first game since I’ve been the coach here that I was really upset at halftime. I didn’t feel like we were matching their toughness or their energy. That’s what is so frustrating to me.”

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Navy (2-6) is now averaging 54.6 points per game on 34 percent field goal shooting for the season and Taylor will now work to boost the offense without the services of his second-leading scorer.

Senior wing guard Kolbi Green left the program prior to last weekend’s Navy Classic in what Taylor described as a “mutual decision.” Green, a Baltimore native and McDonogh graduate, was averaging 12.2 points and was second on the squad with 17 assists and 13 steals.

“We wish Kolbi the absolute best in everything she does going forward,” Taylor said. “She is going to graduate from the Naval Academy and be commissioned as an officer, both of which are incredible accomplishments.” So concludes a star-crossed career for Green, who played in 55 games with 39 starts during her collegiate career. Green previously left the program nine games into her sophomore season when Stefanie Pemper was head coach.

Taylor acknowledged the loss of Green is a blow to an already struggling offense.

“Kolbi was a dynamic offensive player who could get downhill and create opportunities for herself and others. She could also make shots,” Taylor said.

Coleman has been simply sensational this season and is nearly averaging a double-double with 22.5 points and 9.8 rebounds. The Richmond, Virginia native also leads the Mids with 38 assists and 19 steals.

However, the coaching staff has to find a way to get Coleman some help before Patriot League play begins on Dec. 29 with a home game against Holy Cross. Navy has two more non-conference contests – Saturday at Maryland-Eastern Shore and Dec. 12 at Rider.

Taylor was asked Thursday if he’s concerned about placing even more burden on Coleman, who has scored 21 points or more in seven of eight games this season.

“I think Jenn does have to take more on her shoulders, not necessarily in terms of scoring but by showing more leadership and lifting up her teammates,” Taylor said.

Without Green, Navy’s only other reliable scorer is Watts, who is averaging 7.3 points. There is a significant drop-off after that with Schrader and Hertelendy scoring 3.9 and 3.1 points per game.

“This development is going to allow some young kids to step up and assume new roles,” Taylor said. “Other people need to step up and become shot makers, not just shot takers.

“Bottom line, we have to start making open perimeter shots. We’re getting good looks and not finishing.”

Taylor thinks junior forward Lindsay Llewellyn, who led Navy in 3-pointers made as a plebe, has the ability to be an effective scorer. Llewellyn, the 2018 Cecil Count Player of the Year who totaled more than 1,500 points at The Tome School, missed four games to start the season due to an injury.

Taylor believes Hertelendy can provide more production as the team’s lone post threat, while Lewis has started playing better as she adjusts to college basketball. Sophomore Sam Schofield, who scored 12 points on the strength of four 3-pointers against Lafayette last season, is expected to resume practicing soon after appearing in just one game to date.

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