Jan. 16, 2013
Army 63, Lafayette 43
EASTON, Pa. – Army women’s basketball secured its second consecutive Patriot League win on Wednesday evening with a 63-43 win at Lafayette. Freshmen Kelsey Minato and Aimee Oertner combined for 32 points, including Minato’s game-high 21 as the Black Knights improved to 2-0 in conference play for the fourth consecutive season.
Oertner, a native of Slatington, Pa., returned to the Lehigh Valley for the first time collegiately and recorded her highest point total since Dec. 10 by shooting 50 percent (5-10) from the floor. Minato eclipsed the 20-point mark for the third time this season, finding the bottom of the net on eight of her 13 attempts, including a trio of three-pointers.
The Leopards (7-10, 0-2 PL) struck first and it took Army (13-4, 2-0 PL) over five minutes to capture its first lead of the game, 8-7, after senior Anna Simmers cherry-picked a layup off a feed from junior Jen Hazlett. The score sparked a 10-0 run which included four points apiece by Minato and Simmers.
Lafayette battled back to retake the lead, 18-17, with 8:44 remaining in the half before Army broke off a 10-2 run, including a three-pointer by freshman Jean Parker for her first collegiate points. Army took a five-point lead into the half but not before Lafayette’s Danielle Fiacco, the nation’s No. 3 shot-blocker who entered the game averaging just shy of a double-double, picked up her third foul of the game.
Army came out of intermission struggling, missing its first three shot attempts as Lafayette grew closer. The Leopards tied the score at 35-35 with 12 minutes remaining before Hazlett fought for the rebound off an LC miss, ran the length of the court and drained a three at the other end to regain the lead for the Black Knights. The Leopards responded the next play by Emily Homan driving to the hoop and Minato standing in to take the charge, giving Homan her fourth foul of the game with 10:33 remaining.
Momentum shifted to the Black Knights at that point as Army went on a 9-0 run with Lafayette burning a timeout with just over eight minutes left. The run extended to 14-0 before the Leopards called for another timeout one minute later.
Lafayette went nearly 8:30 without a field goal as Army’s lead grew to 20, where it would remain until the final buzzer.
Homan and Madeline Fahan tied for the team lead with 10 points apiece as Fiacco’s foul troubles limited her to just seven points and six rebounds.
Army shot a season-high 48.9 percent from the field (22-45) while holding the Leopards to just 28.8 percent (17-59), the second-lowest by a Black Knight opponent this year.
“From our perspective, we knew we had a huge challenge with Fiacco and Homan,” said Army head coach Dave Magarity after the game. “I just think they’re so talented, you have to hope you can take certain thigns away and we were lucky. They just didn’t shoot the ball well and to hold them to under 20 percent in the second half is something that had everything to do with us winning this game. On the flip side, we were able to score. We made shots, we made the extra pass, we executed very, very well tonight.
“Those freshmen – Aimee Oertner, what a great game in a tough situation, to come in here and play in front of a hometown crowd against the No. 3 shot-blocker in the country. I thought she did some great things tonight. She missed some shots but she made good moves, strong moves, and made the right decisions. Minato is such a special player, the way she took over that game when our senior members of the team just weren’t scoring.”
Army will return to West Point, N.Y., for its most anticipated home contest of the season when the Black Knights host academy rival Navy on Sunday afternoon. The Midshipmen are 9-8 after defeating Holy Cross 60-47 on Wednesday evening in Worcester, Mass. Both service academies enter the showdown with 2-0 records in Patriot League play. A limited number of tickets for Sunday’s 2:30 p.m. tilt are still available and can be purchased by calling 1-877-TIX-ARMY, by clicking here or by visiting the Army Athletics box office located near Gate 3 at Michie Stadium. The Army women’s game will be preceded by the men’s game at noon.
Game Notes: Army earned its 13th win of the season the fastest by both date and total games since 2006-07 (1/3/07; 15 games) … Lafayette drops to 0-2 to open conference play for the third straight season … the win over the Leopards was the 30th (30-23) in program history, the second-most total against any opponent in Army’s 36-year history … the Black Knights have defeated next Wednesday’s opponent, Colgate, 32 times … Army has defeated Lafayette four consecutive times, tying Colgate for longest active winning streak against 2012-13 opponents … the Black Knights are 7-2 on the road this season for the most wins away from West Point since 2008-09 (9-7) … seventh-year head coach Dave Magarity improved to 112-84 at Army and 425-418 in 30 years as a head coach.