The Navy women's basketball team began its 2018-19 Patriot League season with a 58-46 road victory over Loyola on Wednesday afternoon.
The Mids (6-5, 1-0 PL) broke open the game in the first quarter and eventually took a 33-19 lead into halftime on their way to the win over the Greyhounds (1-11, 0-1 PL). Navy was clicking on both sides of the ball at Reitz Arena as they shot 42.6 percent for the game, while defensively holding Loyola to 27.6 percent from the floor.
Freshman Jennifer Coleman and sophomore Sophie Gatzounas spearheaded Navy's attack as the duo combined for 32 points and 22 rebounds. Individually, Coleman went for 19 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in 31 minutes, while Gatzounas backed up her teammate with 13 points, nine rebounds and two blocks in 33 minutes.
"For a 12 o'clock tip our women came out really focused and ready to go," head coach Stefanie Pemper said. "They executed the game plan really well. The third quarter was the difference in the game, Loyola can be a good third quarter team; that's when they got their lead at Monmouth and didn't relinquish it. For us to come out and extend our lead in the third quarter today was awesome.
"We moved the ball pretty well on offense against the zone so we were able to get some good shots. We also got some high percentage shots in transition."
For the second consecutive contest, Navy dominated the battle of the boards as the team corralled nine more rebounds than Loyola, 44-35. Coleman and Gatzounas led the Mids' effort with totals of 13 and nine rebounds, respectively. The double-double was Coleman's third of the season.
"Jennifer played well," remarked Pemper. "She sees the floor well and she likes to run in-transition. She rebounded well today, as part of another strong rebounding day of us; we're not the tallest team so that's always an important stat to win.
"Jennifer and Sophie are obviously the two that lead us in scoring this year and they did it again today. To come out in our first league game against an opponent that knows us, I thought they competed really well. Sophie was all over rebounds and loose balls; she made some smart reads on defense. I thought Morgan (Taylor) and Bianca [Roach] were good defensively for us. Morgan did a nice job of staying out of foul trouble."
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Navy will continue early-season Patriot League action on Sunday when hosting Lehigh. The Mids and Mountain Hawks will tip-off at 3:30 p.m. as part of a men's-women's basketball doubleheader at Alumni Hall.