The 2000-2001 American University Women's Basketball Team battled through its final season of competition in the Colonial Athletic Association under direction of new head coach, Shann Hart. The Eagles finished with a 4-23 overall record, 2-13 in the CAA, and did not compete in the CAA Championships as they make their transition to the Patriot League for the 2001-2002 season.
Coach Hart notched her first win at AU against future Patriot League foe Navy, on Nov. 29 when the Eagles won a tough overtime battle in Bender Arena. She entered her first season at the helm of the women's basketball program after leading St. Mary's College to three consecutive 20-win seasons. She became the fourth head coach in AU's 22 seasons of women's basketball and the first new head coach in more than a decade (1989). Hart compiled a 77-32 record in her four years with the Seahawks to become the winningest coach in St. Mary's women's basketball history.
On Dec. 3, the Eagles faced Patriot League powerhouse Holy Cross and fell by just five after leading at the half. In addition, American had key home wins against CAA opponents UNCW and East Carolina, who was second in the conference when they fell to the Eagles on Jan. 25.
Finishing eighth in the CAA, the Eagles factored into the top of many statistical categories. American led the conference in free throw percentage (.711), placed second in blocked shots (3.63 bpg), and finished fifth in steals (9.81 spg).
Sophomore guard Erin Brady netted a team season-high 26 points against Navy and led the Eagles with 11.7 ppg, 3.2 assists per game, and 2.56 steals per game. She was unable to factor into CAA standings, having missed the last 10 games of the season with a leg injury. Also leading AU was senior Jina Lewis. Lewis finished her career as one of the most dominant inside players in AU history. Her 606 rebounds puts her in fourth on AU's all-time career list and her 51 blocks is good for seventh all-time. Also, her 111 games played is tied for fifth on AU's all-time career list and her 75 games started places her in 10th all-time. This season Lewis averaged 10.5 points per game along with 7.0 rebounds per game and was in the top-ten in the CAA in rebounding, steals, and free-throw percentage.
Veterans Hollie Steinman, Maria Werries, and Danielle Johnson also had strong seasons for the Eagles. Steinman led the team in rebounds (7.6 rpg), third in CAA, and blocked shots with 47 (1.74 bpg), second in CAA. Steinman was also named to the 2000 AU Tip-off Classic All-Tournament Team along with teammate Maria Werries. Werries, a co-captain, led the Eagles in free throw percentage (.753), sixth in CAA and averaged 7.4 ppg and 3.4 rpg. Fellow co-captain, Danielle Johnson, averaged 9.2 ppg and 5.5 rpg and was the only player to start every game.
Other key returning performers for AU included Jamie Dowd and April Brooks. Dowd saw action in 22 games including two starts and averaged 3.2 ppg and 2.1 rpg for the Eagles. Brooks competed in 22 games with one start for AU and averaged 2.1 ppg along with 2.1 rpg.
The Eagles were also sparked by a trio of newcomers in Kaitlin Schuyler, Christina Black and Anastasia Goncharova. Schuyler started 17 games for American, averaging 7.1 ppg and 2.83 apg, and finished ninth in the CAA in three-point field goals made (1.26/g). Black averaged 7.3 ppg in 16 contests for AU while Goncharova averaged 2.8 ppg in 18 games.
Next season the Eagles return a strong core of players in addition to reserves Adi Kamin, Mariam Veppumthara, Katryn Costenbader, and Chanel Spriggs. Kamin played in AU's final game of the season after fulfilling NCAA eligibility obligations while Veppumthara, Costenbader, and Spriggs sat out this season after transferring from St. Mary's. The Eagles will look to contend for the Patriot League crown in the 2001-2002 season.