"That was a whole lotta' love for a team that has a lot to prove," Marshall coach Royce Chadwick said of the attendance figure. "We are really sad that we could not win it for all those fans."
Even Navy coach Joe Sanchez admired Chadwick's gumption at drumming up a crowd. "
Cassie Hackworth's 10 first-half points enabled Marshall (3-3) to battle back from a seven-point deficit (29-22) with 4:51 left in the first half. Hackworth's basket with :08 left put Marshall up by one, actually. However, Navy's Maile Shimoda drilled a three-pointer at the buzzer to put Navy up by one, 32-31, at the half.
Navy did not let up in the second half, pulling away to a 14 point lead, 49-35, at the 15:14 mark. Melissa Arnold hit a three-pointer, cutting the lead to 11. Marshall cut the lead back to 9 points again at the 13:32 mark on an Andrea Fitzgerald layup, but Navy's zone defense had the Herd baffled. Three straight Marshall turnovers, coupled with a Royce Chadwick technical foul, enabled Navy to extend the lead to as many as 15 points, 65-50, with 5:42 left.
Marshall then went into some full and half-court pressing, trying to force Navy turnovers. However, Navy fought through the Herd press admirably. Andrea Fitzgerald's steal and basket with 3:40 left cut the Navy lead to seven, 65-58.
Andrea Fitzgerald moves the ball upcourt against pressure from Navy's Kristen Kavanaugh.
Navy converted free throws in the last minute to secure the win, 71-61.
"Composure. Execution for 40 minutes," was Navy coach Joe Sanchez's post-game summation. "We always felt that we had a counter for whatever."
Marshall guard Andrea Fitzgerald led the scoring for Marshall with 21 points. However, Fitzgerald did commit 11 turnovers. Cassie Hackworth finished with 12 points, the only other Marshall player in double figures. Navy was led by Maile Shimoda's 19 points, Courtney Davidson's 16, and Adrienne Roseti's 13.
Marshall shot 44.2% (23-of-52) from the field, but only 37.5% from three-point range (3-of-8). Marshall's 25 turnovers didn't help, either. "Those kinds of things really hurt," Chadwick summed up.
The Herd now enjoys almost two weeks off (13 days) before playing Robert Morris at the Henderson Center on December 18. Navy (4-3) faces UMBC at home in Annapolis, MD, on December 16.