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November 21st, 2012

Army women hold off Penn for 58-53 victory

Senior guard Anna Simmers and the Army women’s basketball team captured their first home win of the season by defeating the University of Pennsylvania, 58-53. Hudson Valley Press/CHUCK STEWART, JR.

WEST POINT - Army women’s basketball held on to defeat the visiting University of Pennsylvania Quakers, 58-53, in a game which featured runs of 10-1, 9-0 and 16-2 and 11 lead changes. The Black Knights (3-1) captured their first home win of the season after shooting a season-high 38.2 percent from floor, led by a combined 30-point effort from a pair of Army post players in sophomore Olivia Schretzman and freshman Aimee Oertner.

Schretzman tallied a season-high 18 points, two shy of her career best, while Oertner snagged her third double-double with 12 points and a game-high 12 rebounds. Oertner’s 12 caroms match her career best. She also added four blocked shots.

Army’s stingy defense kept Penn’s scoring in check through most of the first half. The Quakers (0-3), which came into the game averaging 58 points per game, hit the game’s first field goal (17:40), but were held without another one until the 10:12 mark as the Black Knights went on a 10-1 run.

Army summoned up another run, this time an 11-2 streak to push its lead to 23-12 with 3:15 remaining. The Quakers responded with their strongest effort of the half, as Penn shrunk the Black Knights’ lead to one (23-22) at the halftime buzzer.

Penn’s run, which shrunk the Black Knights’ first-half lead, carried into the second half after Kathleen Roche drained a three pointer 36 seconds into the second half as the Quakers took their first lead since 16:17 of the first half. Roche’s trey was followed with one by Keiera Ray, as Penn’s run built to 16-2 over a period of six minutes, 20 seconds.

Schretzman knotted the score, 28-28, at 16:27, before the lead changed hands seven times over the next six minutes. However, once Army grabbed the lead at 10:58 thanks to a layup by senior guard Anna Simmers, the Black Knights never relinquished it.

Army maxed its second-half lead at nine with 2:32 remaining off a made free throw by Simmers, but Penn did not go away quietly. The Quakers hit a pair of three in the final two minutes to come within three of the Black Knights, before freshman Kelsey Minato iced the game with a pair of free throws in the final seconds of the contest.

Penn’s Kara Bonenberger, who put up 21 against Army a season ago, was held to one point and three fouls in the first half, before ending with just four points on 1-4 shooting. Ray finished with a game-high 21 points, while Alyssa Baron totaled 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Quakers.

"We really did some great things," said Army head coach Dave Magarity. "I think a big point in the game was when Penn went zone, we really showed great patience. Just having seen so much zone in our first three games, especially the last two games, really helped us play with a lot more poise. We didn’t rush things and we really attacked their defense from the middle. Our post passing just gets better and better every game.

"It’s important that our perimeter players know the importance of getting the ball down low," Magarity continued. "Everyone is keying on Simmers and Hazlett, and obviously Hazlett is still struggling, but she came up huge in the second half - she probably hit one of the biggest baskets of the game in the second half. Her passing and her rebounding was great. As for Simmers, even though her offense never really got on track, her defense against Alyssa Baron was critical. Baron is one of the best players we’ll see all year - she never got in the flow of the game and I thought Simmers had everything to do with that."

The Black Knights will look to improve upon their blemish-free road record (2-0) in 2012-13 when they take a Thanksgiving Week trip to the Mountain West region. Army will face Weber State on Wednesday, before reigniting its academy rivalry at Air Force on Friday.

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