Women Chase Navy into Overtime on Senior Day
By Drew Friedman ‘16
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Saturday, February 16, 2013 16:02
No athlete ever forgets her last home game. It’s the culmination of four years of hard work and dedication, the end of a journey that probably began when she was too little to even spell the word “college” much less envision herself playing for one.
We can only hope that such a game is a last hurrah, an opportunity for the athlete to stand one last time under the bright lights and compete to the best of her ability. That was exactly what it was for Lafayette women’s basketball co-captain Alicia Manning ‘13. Though the Leopards fell in overtime on Senior Day by a score of 60-52 to a tough Navy team that was 6-1 in conference and 13-9 overall, Manning shone in front of the home crowd at the Kirby Sports Center.
When the game was over, she had gone 4-6 from the field, including 2-3 from beyond the three-point arc, for a total of ten points. She had grabbed four rebounds and logged two assists with just a single turnover in twenty-eight minutes. However, the stats don’t begin to describe the contribution she made.
First, Manning set the tone with just a few seconds gone in the second half with a three-pointer that gave Lafayette a seven-point lead, which Navy slowly eroded. Then, after the visitors had finally taken the lead, she coolly stepped up with :47 left on the clock in regulation and buried a three-pointer to bring the Leopards within two points of the lead.
Moments, later, teammate Maddie Peabody ‘15 hustled back and drew a critical charge against a driving Navy point guard. This set up Manning to drive down the right side of the lane and make a leaning shot with 13.3 seconds left to tie the score at 46. After Navy wrestled back the lead with a jumper, Peabody was able to aid the seniors by hitting a layup with six seconds left to send the game into the extra period.
Once overtime came around, Navy was able to make the difficult shots fall and Lafayette was not. The girls’ defense was able to hold Navy to a one point lead at the two minute mark but Navy put together back to back hoops to stretch the lead to 57-52 with only a minute to go. Eventually the girls’ squad ran out of time and was not able to catch up. Down the stretch Lafayette went 0-5 within the last two minutes of overtime.
After the game Manning stated, “Coming into the Navy game we had a week to prepare. Navy is currently ranked first in the league, so we knew it was going to be a battle. I couldn’t have asked for more from my teammates. We fought until the very end, we just came up a little short. I think by taking Navy into overtime we sent a message to the rest of the teams in the league. We are playing our best basketball right now, and I think other teams no longer consider Lafayette an ‘easy W’.”
In preparation for Wednesday’s game against Army, coach Nolan believed the team could have improved on both the offensive and defensive sides of the court. Nolan stated, “We are working on getting better looks at the basket in every possession, spacing the court better, and improving the timing of our passes to each other. On the defensive end we need to be stronger and handle Army’s perimeter.”
Going into the game, Manning and her teammates have the same mindset they did on day one of the season.
Manning stated, “Our goal from day one this year has been ‘First Four’ which means we want to finish in the top four in the league in order to host a first round playoff game.”
Despite only chasing a three point margin at half and having multiple comeback spurts, the women were not able to defeat their Patriot League rival Army on Feb. 13. The final score left Lafayette with a 13 point margin of defeat at 57-70. The women went in as underdogs against an Army team that trails Navy, who continues to lead the conference at 7-2.
“The positive from this game is that we played hard until the end, and at moments showed what we are capable of. We know what we have to work on in practice to prepare for Bucknell on Saturday,”Manning said.