Led by the dynamic duo of Jennifer Coleman and Sydne Watts, the Navy’s women’s basketball team put forth a strong effort Saturday in a bid to upset the Patriot League’s first-place team.
Coleman and Watts combined for 52 points, but that was not enough as the Midshipmen ran out of gas in the fourth quarter and lost to Boston University, 74-63, at Alumni Hall.
Coleman and Watts both recorded career-highs with 32 and 20 points respectively, but Boston (9-7, 5-0) outscored Navy 26-15 over the game’s final 12 minutes to remain unbeaten in Patriot League play.
Coleman also tied her career high with 16 rebounds for Navy (5-11, 2-4), which is 2-9 overall and 0-3 within the conference at home this season. Only four players scored for the Midshipmen, who made 27 of 66 shots.
Boston University had a dynamic duo of its own, plus one, as Liz Shean and Sydney Johnson scored 20 points each and Caitlin Weimar notched a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Boston University made 27 of 61 shots.
According to second-year coach Tim Taylor, the inexperienced Mids have shown significant improvement since starting the season by losing seven of their first nine games.
“I really see them improving... a little each week. They [Navy] are getting much better. I think they will continue to improve,” said Taylor, who installed a new offense after a 63-53 loss to Holy Cross. “I changed the offense and they are getting more comfortable with it. We’re getting more diverse in our offense as to what we do.”
Navy opened the game with a nice run to take a 12-9 lead but failed to score over the final 4:40 of the first quarter and trailed 22-12. During the stretch, Navy went 0-for-8 from the field and was outscored 13-0.
The Mids played as well as they have all season, though, during the second and third quarters. They trailed 26-12 early in the second, but rallied to lead 32-31 at halftime. In the third quarter, the teams stood tied at 48 with 2:40 left to play. However, a 13-4 run by the Terriers gave them a 68-56 lead with just under five minutes to play.
There was no comeback this time.
Despite the 11-point margin of defeat, the Mids were pleased with their performance against the team that leads the league.
“Boston right now is the best team in our league and we played very well against them,” Taylor said. “The result came down to them making shots, They made the shots they needed to make.”
Coleman made 13 of 24 shots from the field, grabbed 12 offensive boards and added four assists.
“We’re getting better and better game by game,” Coleman said. “We need to continue improving a little each game, I’ve said it before. Nobody will remember how we played in the beginning of the season. It’s how we play (at the end of the season) that they will remember.”
Coleman, who has scored in double figures in all 15 games, finished with her 11th double-double of the season.
“We have to do a better job of sticking to the game plan,” Coleman said. “The times they [had scoring runs] on us we were getting tired and got fatigued.”
Watts scored in double figures for the fifth time this season. She played all 40 minutes.
“I was really proud of how we played today, especially in the first half,” said Watts, who made nine of 17 shots and added six rebounds. “There are so many parts that are improved from the last time we played them [an 82-58 road loss Jan. 2]. It’s great to see us improving every day in practice and then in the games.”
Taylor said one area the Mids are still lacking in is limiting 3-pointers by the opposition. Boston University made 12 of 34 attempts from 3-point range while Navy went 6-for-17 from beyond the arc for a difference of 18 points.
“I don’t know what it is about our place. Teams come in here and just light it up with 3-pointers.” Taylor said. “They come in here and take a lot more shots than we see on the road.”
Wednesday, 6 p.m.