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Women’s basketball at the Service Academies: Jennifer Coleman, Haley Jones and Army’s win streak

A notebook looking at Army’s winning streak, Jennifer Coleman’s stats at Navy and Haley Jones’ rebounding at Air Force.

Syndication: The Coloradoan Jon Austria/The Coloradoan / USA TODAY NETWORK

There’s about a month left in the 2021-22 regular season for women’s college basketball, and Army, Navy and Air Force are all having very different campaigns.

Let’s begin out west. After enduring two stretches where they lost three-of-four games, the Air Force Falcons have an above .500 record on the season and have proven to be competitive in the Mountain West this season with a 6-5 mark in conference play.

Air Force’s defense has been solid this season, as they’re holding opponents to 57.7 points per-game, a clip that is 41st best in the nation. The Falcons also have the 23rd best three-point shooting defense in the country, keeping opponents to shooting just 26.1% from deep. Air Force is also 18th in the nation in steals, swiping away 10.9 possessions per-game. Their opponents have averaged an assist-turnover ratio of 0.42, which is the best mark in the nation.

In the east, the Patriot League has six teams this season with six or more wins, and four teams with seven or more losses. Unfortunately for Navy, they are in the latter group. So far in Tim Taylor’s second season in-charge, the Mids are 6-14 on the year and 3-7 in conference play. Jennifer Coleman has been absolutely awesome, but Navy hasn’t quite had the overall talent to be competitive on a consistent basis. The Mids have lost four of their last five games, but that one win was over Army – a 61-60 result in Annapolis on Jan. 22.

“I thought we had good effort from everyone,” Taylor said after Navy’s loss to American last Saturday. “We just have to keep getting better and making plays. I feel like we’re close. I feel like we’re in every game, outside of one or two of them. We’re a couple plays away in every game. We just need to learn how to finish those.”

Taylor isn’t wrong. Nine of Navy’s losses have come by 11 points or less. If a few plays go the other in each game, the Mids’ record could look a whole lot different.

The Black Knights – in Missy Traversi’s debut season at the helm – have been competitive so far in Patriot League play. Currently riding a four-game winning streak, Army is saddled with a 12-8 overall record and a 6-4 mark in league play. Their latest victory was a 63-57 road win at Loyola (MD) on Wednesday, which featured a 17-point, eight-rebound outing from Alisa Fallon.

“This team came together to get the win on the road against a hungry Loyola team. Different players, once again, stepped up and made critical plays at important moments for us,” Traversi said after the win. “I was very pleased with the third quarter response we had. Everything starts with defense and rebounding. When we hang our hats on those two areas, we put ourselves in a great position to win any game.”

Upcoming

Navy

  • Home vs. Loyola on Saturday, Feb. 5 | 4 p.m. EST | ESPN+
  • At Lafayette on Wednesday, Feb. 9 | 6 p.m. EST

Army

  • At Holy Cross on Saturday, Feb. 5 | Noon EST | ESPN+
  • Home vs. Boston on Wednesday, Feb. 9 | 6 p.m. EST | ESPN+

Air Force

  • Home vs. Colorado State on Saturday, Feb. 5 | 11 a.m. EST
  • At New Mexico on Wednesday, Feb. 9 | 5 p.m. EST

The biggest test this week is for Army, as they’ll face the two teams at the top of the Patriot League standings in back-to-back games. Air Force faces the Mountain West leader on Wednesday.

Stat Blast

  • In her senior campaign, Haley Jones of Air Force is establishing herself as one of the top offensive rebounders in the country. The 6-foot forward from Torrance, California is averaging 4.5 offensive boards per-game this season, which is 11th best in the nation. Her 6.9 offensive rebounds per-40 minutes is 14th best in the nation, according to HerHoopStats. Additionally, Jones has the 14th-best PER in the Mountain West, with a mark of 22.0.
  • At Navy, Jennifer Coleman has become one of the country’s top do-it-all guards. She’s seventh in the nation in scoring with 23.1 points per-game, eighth in defensive rebounds with 8.4 per-game, and is 14th in steals with 2.9 per-game. According to HerHoopStats, Coleman is also seventh nationally in free throws made (99), ninth in usage (35.9%) and 11th in assist rate (38.9%). She leads the Patriot League in PER with 32.4. Coleman, a 5-foot-9 senior from Richmond, Virginia, has 15 double-doubles this season, which is fourth among all players in the country.