Black Knights Top Colgate in Quarterfinals

WEST POINT – The top-seeded Army West Point women’s basketball team played to an 89-63 victory over No. 8 Colgate in a Patriot League Tournament quarterfinal game on Monday evening at Christl Arena.

Army improves to 27-2 on the season, while Colgate finishes the year 7-23.

Senior Kelsey Minato led all scorers with 23 points, added six assists and raised her Patriot League-record career point total to 2,500. Classmate Aimee Oertner narrowly missed a triple-double, as she finished with 18 points, a career-best 13 rebounds and a program-record-tying nine blocks.

Senior Brianna Johnson also finished in double figures with 12 points, classmate Jean Parker added nine points and six rebounds and sophomore Janae McNeal tallied eight points and five boards. Freshman Madison Hovren scored nine points off the bench.

Katie Curtis and Paige Krifter each scored 14 points to lead Colgate, while Josie Stockill netted 12 points and grabbed six boards. Ariel Etheridge came away with 10 points.

“This is such a different team than we’ve had, from the style of play to the ability to get teams playing out of their comfort zone,” said head coach Dave Magarity. “We just have to keep it up. We have to continue to figure out the right ways to challenge teams by staying out of foul trouble and not putting teams into the bonus early in the quarters.

Army was successful on its first three-pointers to begin the game, including a pair of triples by Minato. The Black Knights trailed 4-2 early before knocking in three-pointers on three of the next four possessions from Minato, Parker and Johnson to move Army out to an 11-7 lead 3:47 into the contest.

Johnson went on to score the next four points for the hosts to make the score 15-9 before a McNeal made a lay-up with 3:49 remaining in the first period to finish a 7-0 run and boost Army’s lead to 11, 20-9.

The Black Knights outscored the Raiders, 12-7, over the final 3:18 of the opening frame to control a 16-point advantage, 32-16, heading into the second.

Colgate climbed back to an 11-point deficit, 44-33, by the 1:19 mark of the second quarter, but Army closed the period on a 7-0 run, including a three-pointer from sophomore Destinee Morris and an old-fashioned three-point play from Minato with six seconds before the half.

Army increased its lead to as many as 27 in the third quarter, as the Black Knights led, 72-45, after a Minato triple with 1:34 remaining in the frame. The hosts shot 53.3 percent (8-of-15) from the floor during the third quarter alone before going on to finish the game at a clip of 50.0 percent (31-of-62).

Oertner shot a perfect 6-of-6 at the free-throw line to finish with eight points in the fourth quarter, while Hovren contributed four of her points in the frame. Army ended the game 81.0 percent (17-of-21) from the stripe.

The Black Knights didn’t allow the Raiders to come any closer than 20 points in the last 16:50 of the contest.

“This may be one of the best all-around teams I’ve ever had,” Magarity continued. “Aimee had a career night, 18 points, 13 rebounds and nine blocks is pretty good. I thought the way Bri came out set the tone for this game. I’m so proud to have coached this group for four years.”

Army hosts No. 4 Lehigh in the Patriot League semifinals on Friday, March 11 at 5 p.m. to mark the second year in a row the Black Knights and the Mountain Hawks have met in the league semifinals.

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