ANNAPOLIS, Md. – Three Holy Cross women's basketball players finished in double figures but a second half surge by Navy allowed the No. 3 seed Mids to defeat the No. 5 seed Crusaders in the 2012 Patriot League Championship game, 57-48, at Alumni Hall. With the final, the Crusaders finish the season at 18-14 while Navy punches its second consecutive ticket to the NCAA tournament with a record of 18-13. Sophomore Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) led the Crusaders with 13 points.
Malone sank two baskets for five points to lead the Crusaders to an early 9-2 lead over the Mids. Tough defense kept Holy Cross ahead through the halfway point of the first, 11-6. A Navy three-point shot at 5:58 made it a two-point game, 13-11, as sophomore Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) hit the only Crusaders basket in the stretch. A three-pointer by freshman Ashley Cooper (Colts Neck, N.J.) with 3:33 gave Crusaders a 18-14 lead as the squad finished the half strong, outscoring the Mids 7-4, including a three-pointer by junior Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) to take a 25-18 lead into the break. Holy Cross shot 44 percent (11 of 25) over the first 20 minutes of action as Malone led all scorers with seven points.
Navy stepped up offensively in the opening minutes of the second half, taking its first lead of the game, 28-27, at 17:12. Two consecutive baskets by Smith gave the Crusaders back a one-point edge, 37-36, at 13:08. The Mids followed with a 7-0 run to pull out to a 43-37 lead with 9:33 on the game clock. Holy Cross fell quiet from field goal range for seven minutes as the Mids remained ahead by two possessions, 47-40 at 5:39. A three-point play by Malone at 4:34 broke the Crusaders' field goal drought, bringing the score to 49-45. Four made free throws allowed Navy to then move ahead by eight points, 53-45. Lepley hit a three with 2:37 to go, making it a 53-48 game but Holy Cross could not pull any closer as Navy went on to win by a final 57-48 tally.
In the game, Holy Cross shot 34 percent from the floor (17 of 50) while Navy shot 37.3 percent (19 of 51). Smith finished with 12 points while Lepley added 11. The Mids won the rebounding battle, 40-30 as Lepley led the team with eight boards. Navy was led by sophomore forward Jade Geif who scored a game-high 22 points and tied the team-high with seven rebounds.
The Crusaders have now completed action in the 2011-2012 season. Lepley and Smith were both named to the Patriot League All-Tournament team for their performances in the postseason while Geif was named the Tournament MVP.