Mids win 47-40; Earn First NCAA Bid

For the first twenty minutes of the Patriot League Championship game against American University it seemed as if the Navy women's basketball team was with the rest of the Brigade on spring break. But their stellar defense came to life – and so did the crowd - in a second half surge that put the Mids in the NCAA tournament for the first time in program history as they ousted the Eagles 47-40.

After using two solid defensive efforts to propel them to the championship game, a low-scoring game seemed to be in the cards as the Mids faced off against American on Saturday evening in Annapolis. But the Navy team which held Colgate and Bucknell to a combined 77 points couldn't hold onto the ball in the opening stages of the game as the Eagles raced out to an early 11-3 advantage. And before the crowd of 1,763 knew it, 10 turnovers by the Mids combined with some hot shooting by American's Liz Leer had given the visitors a 30-18 lead at intermission.

However the second half was a different story. Aided by a pair of three point baskets by freshman guard Alix Membreno and two layups by fellow freshman Jade Geif, Navy went on a 14-2 run to tie the game at 32-32. And just like that, the Alumni Hall crowd, which included ‘Navy' cheerleaders on loan from a local high school and a mascot who at times seemed to be just grazing aimlessly off court, had come to life. The chances of this Navy basketball making history had all of a sudden seemed to be a real possibility and now the team had a boisterous crowd behind them – clinging to every possession.

After taking its first lead of the game at 34-32, courtesy of two Erin Edwards free throws, the Eagles went on a 7-0 run to take a five-point lead with just under nine minutes to go. However, the Washington D.C.-based school would only score one more point the entire game as Navy's defense proved to be just too relentless in the closing minutes.

As the final seconds ticked away and with the Mids in control, a celebration that started on the Mids' sideline poured onto center court. With a 47-40 victory in hand, the Navy women's basketball team danced in Annapolis like never before. And moments later, the newness of the situation became even more apparent to those still in attendance for the post-game festivities.  As Navy senior co-captain Angela Myers climbed the ladder to cut down the net, she had to receive counsel from head coach Stefanie Pemper on how to do it correctly.

The NCAA bracket will be unveiled on Monday at 7 p.m. As of the latest ESPN bracketology, the Mids are projected to be a 15-seed and face the eighth ranked (and second seeded) Texas A&M Aggies.


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