The American University women's basketball team fought back from a 12-point deficit in the second half to tie it with under three minutes to play, but Western Michigan was able to come up with four straight points and back-to-back steals on American's final possessions for the 57-53 win.
"Western Michigan's ability to score points in transition was a big key to the game," said Head Coach Matt Corkery. "We must improve our transition defense and ball security if we want to be successful moving forward. When we begin to take better care of the ball and find our defensive identity then good things will happen."
Jen Dumiak registered a career-high 21 points to lead the Eagles on 5-of-8 shooting, going 10-for-12 from the foul line. She also notched a team-best three assists. Michelle Holmes posted a team-high seven boards with Stephanie Anya adding five, while Alexis Dobbs picked up four steals with two helpers.
The two teams traded scores to open the game before a trey from Ti'Asia McGeorge put American (0-1) up 10-7 at the 13:16 mark. The Broncos responded with five straight points for the two-point advantage. Dumiak continued to answer for the Eagles. She hit an open jumper to tie it at 12 and then converted on a three-point play to give American a one-point lead, 15-14, with 8:49 left in the half.
After a three from Jessica Jessing, American went on a 7-0 run to go up 22-19, forcing the Broncos to call a timeout. Western Michigan closed out the half on an 8-0 run, capped off by six straight points from Jessing for the 29-24 Broncos' lead heading into the intermission.
Western Michigan (1-0) took an eight-point lead at the start of the second half before a Dobbs' three-pointer brought the Eagles within five, 35-30. The Broncos tallied seven consecutive points to take its largest lead of the game. Sarah Kiely ended the run with a three in front of the Eagles' bench following an American timeout, but Jessing answered with one of her own to maintain the 12-point advantage, 45-33, with under 14 minutes to play.
The Eagles began to chip away at Western Michigan's lead, with six straight points for the 45-39 score. A short pull-up jumper from Corie Buchanan inside the paint put it back at 10. American continued to mount its comeback, with six consecutive points for the 51-46 Broncos' lead with five minutes remaining.
Dumiak put up four straight points before sinking her lone three-pointer of the game to tie it at 53 with 2:52 left in the game. American held off Western Michigan for two minutes as the game remained tied, before Buchanan laid it in with 47 seconds remaining for the 55-53 lead. The Broncos came up with two steals on American's subsequent possessions with Buchanan converting on a pair of free throws for the 57-53 final score.
The Eagles shot 34.8 percent from the field and 33.3 percent from beyond the arc for the game, holding the Broncos to 23.1 percent shooting from three-point range. Western Michigan shot 37.7 percent for the game and outrebounded American by a 39-36 margin.
American continues its season-opening road trip on Monday, November 12 when it takes on Oakland at 6:30 p.m.