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    Roundup: Navy women sail past Holy Cross

    Holy Cross players didn’t like the look of things as time wound down in a loss to Navy in the Patriot League championship game in Annapolis, Md.
    Holy Cross players didn’t like the look of things as time wound down in a loss to Navy in the Patriot League championship game in Annapolis, Md.

    Kara Pollinger tied a career high with 24 points, Chloe Stapleton added 19, and Navy won its third straight Patriot League title by defeating Holy Cross, 72-53, Saturday night in Annapolis, Md.

    The victory comes with an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

    Navy (21-11) is the second team to win three consecutive Patriot League championships; the Crusaders captured four in a row from 1998-2001.


    Navy does not have a senior on the roster. The second-seeded Midshipmen beat Holy Cross by 13 and 24 points during the regular season.

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    ‘‘Before the game our players felt genuinely confident, and they brought that out onto the court,’’ coach Stefanie Pemper said. ‘‘It was just a real mature effort by the women on our team.’’

    Brisje Malone scored 17 for the fourth-seeded Crusaders (18-14), who went 4 for 20 from 3-point range.

    ‘‘Four for 20 isn’t going to win you many games,’’ Holy Cross coach Bill Gibbons said. ‘‘We lost to a better basketball team. I’ve got to credit Navy. I thought they played terrific. Sometimes, you’ve just got to tip your hat.’’

    Holy Cross closed to within 39-33 with 14:26 to go in the game, but successive 3-pointers by Stapleton and Pollinger upped the margin to 12 and ended any hope the Crusaders had of mounting a comeback.


    ‘‘That was a key,’’ Gibbons said. ‘‘Those two threes were a dagger.’’

    America East final — Tournament most valuable player Megan Craig had 16 points and seven rebounds, Shereesha Richards and Lindsey Lowrie added 12 points apiece, and top-seeded Albany rallied past visiting Hartford, 61-52, to win its second straight conference title.

    The Great Danes (27-3), regular-season champions for the first time in program history, ended the regular season as the lone undefeated team in league play at 16-0. They’ve won 28 straight games against America East opponents, including the postseason.

    Nikkia Smith’s 18 points led the Hawks (21-11), who were seeking their sixth America East title.

    Atlantic 10 final — Natasha Cloud scored 15 points to help Saint Joseph’s rally to beat Fordham, 47-46, in New York, earning the Hawks (23-8) their first trip to the NCAA Tournament since 2000. Marah Strickland scored 16 points to lead the Rams (24-8).


    Mid-American final — In Cleveland, Crystal Bradford scored 13 points with 10 rebounds and Central Michigan (21-11) beat Akron, 86-68, for its first conference title and NCAA berth since 1984. Hanna Luburgh scored 19 to lead the Zips (23-9).

    Conference USA final — Taleya Mayberry scored 25 points and Tulsa (17-16) went over .500 for the first time this season with a 75-66 win over visiting Central Florida (16-18), earning its second NCAA Tournament berth.

    Mountain West final — Ki-Ki Moore finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds and Fresno State (24-8) held off top-seeded San Diego State (26-6) for a 76-70 win in Las Vegas and a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

    Western Athletic final — Stacey Barr had 16 points and 11 rebounds to lead Idaho (17-15) to a 67-64 upset of top-seeded Seattle (20-10) in Las Vegas.

    MEAC final — Olivia Allen scored 16 points and Hampton (28-5) finished an unbeaten season in conference play with a 59-38 victory against Howard in Norfolk, Va., the Lady Pirates’ 19th straight victory. Kara Smith led Howard (20-11) with 12 points.

    SWAC final — Kiara Etienne scored 31 points, Jeanette Jackson had 6 points in the fourth overtime, and Prairie View A&M (17-14) won its third straight conference tournament crown, beating Mississippi Valley State, 100-87, in Garland, Texas. Khristina Clemons scored 26 points for the Devilettes (17-15).

    Big West final — Ariana Elegado scored 22 points, and Cal Poly (21-10) beat Pacific, 63-49, in Anaheim, Calif., to earn the school’s first NCAA Tournament berth. Gena Johnson scored 14 points for the Tigers (25-7), who dropped to 0-5 in Big West title games.

    Big Sky final — Kenzie De Boer scored 19 points, and Montana (24-7) punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament for the 20th time with a 56-43 victory over Northern Colorado in Missoula, Mont.

    Southland final — Kevi Luper scored 26 points and Oral Roberts (18-12) secured its first NCAA Tournament berth in five years with a 72-66 win over Sam Houston State in Katy, Texas.

    NCAA Div. 2 second round — In Waltham, Lauren Battista and Jacqui Brugliera combined for 40 points and 10 rebounds and Bentley (29-1) built a 19-point halftime lead and rolled to an 85-56 win over Holy Family (28-2). The Falcons will meet Dowling in a third-round game Monday night . . . Stonehill’s Tori Faieta scored 15 points and Mary Louise Dixon added 14 but Dowling (26-3) dominated the second half and rolled to a 57-45 win. The Skyhawks (24-4) shot only 29.5 percent (18 of 61) from the field.

    NCAA Div. 3 Final Four — Danny Rainer finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds and Williams (26-7) rallied in the second half to edge Amherst, 57-53, in the third-place game in Holland, Mich. Marcia Voigt scored 26 points to lead the Lord Jeffs (30-3). DePauw routed Wisconsin-Whitewater, 69-51, to win the championship.