It’s no secret that both both the men’s and women’s versions of Army and Navy basketball have had their struggles this season, but there is nothing like a good rivalry match up to add some much needed fuel to the fire and propel a couple of these squads forward heading towards tournament play.
During the pair’s first meeting back in January, both the Army men and women both came out on top up at Christl Arena in West Point.
Starting off the preview with the women’s teams, during the last meeting, Army won 55-52 against Navy. The Mids jumped out to an early seven point lead at the end of the first quarter in that contest, but Army would claw back into the game before halftime and ultimately pull ahead and fend off Navy in the second half.
After a rocky beginning to the season, the Black Knights (9-14 overall and 4-8 in Patriot League) got back in the groove last week, finally ending their five-game losing streak since beating Navy with a win against Lafayette, 64-40. Freshman Kate Murray put up 19 points on 7-of-11 shooting against the Leopards while senior forward Madison Hovren is continuing to make waves this season, leading the team in double digit scoring (21), double-doubles (15), and 10-rebound games (15).
It could be tough to project an obvious champion for this Saturday’s game against the Mids. Navy is tied with Army in the Patriot League standings with a 4-8 conference record and has a 9-13 overall mark. Army has scored 60 or more points in nine games this season while Navy has only reached 60 points in one of the last eight games. In fact, Colgate is the only conference opponent Navy has scored 60 against this year, having done it twice. Last week, Navy (9-13) failed to come out on top against the Holy Cross Crusaders, coming back to lose a close one 47-44.
You’ll want to keep an eye out for Jennifer Coleman. The Navy freshman has averaged 12.3 points per game and reached double digits in each of the last five games. While the Mids are currently ranked eighth in the league at 54.3 points per game they remain on top on the other side of the coin, only allowing 55.7 points per contest, leading the conference in scoring defense.
Following up with the men’s team, Army (7-6 Patriot League and 12-14 overall), is currently fifth in the Patriot League standings though when you drill down on the details, Saturday could be promising for the Black Knights. Army is currently 17th in the country on pass-first offense, with 61 percent of the shots being assisted on.
Tommy Funk is a name that you’ll probably be hearing during the Army-Navy match up this weekend. As the newly crowned all-time leader in career assists for Army with 483, Funk is a force to be reckoned with on the court. The junior guard is ranked in the top 25 nationally and tied for first in the Patriot League with 6.0 assists per game.
The Mids (7-8 in the Patriot League and 8-16 overall), are sitting just below Army in Patriot League rankings and are faring a bit better at home. Six of their eight wins have been in Annapolis and Navy might be able to use that momentum to their advantage this Saturday. George Kiernan remains Navy’s top rebounder but also leads in scoring with 12.4 points per game. Hasan Abdullah and Cam Davis are also averaging double-digit points on the season. Abdullah is racking up an average of 10.3 points per game with Cam Davis putting an average of 10 points per game on the board.
Regardless, this should be a close contest as it always is in the Star Game between these four squads.
The Army-Navy games will take place this weekend, Saturday, February 16, with the women’s game at 12:00 pm EST and the men’s game at 2:30 pm EST on CBS Sports Network.