The American University women's basketball team opened its Patriot League Tournament run with a 51-49 victory over Lafayette on Thursday night in Bender Arena. The No. 3 Eagles have advanced to the Patriot League Semifinals and will face second-seeded Army on Monday, Mar. 10 at 7 p.m. in West Point, N.Y.
Alexis Dobbs scored 14 points to lead the Eagles and broke American's career 3-point field goal record in the process, hitting three triples to reach 215 in her career. The record bested the mark of 214 set by Nicole Ryan '11. Michelle Holmes added 13 points on 5-of-5 shooting from the floor and Jen Dumiak chipped in 10 points. Dumiak and Holmes led the team with seven boards apiece as American held a 38-37 edge on the glass. Geleisa George posted a team-high five assists.
"It's a great win for us in the first round of the tournament…any win is a good win when you get into March," said Head Coach Megan Gebbia. "Lafayette is a difficult team to play because of the match-up zone that they run and its not something that we can really emulate that well in practice. They forced us to try and hit outside shots today, we didn't hit them, but we found ways to score especially in the second half…Hats off to Lafayette because I think they came with a good game plan and yet we still found a way to win and that's what March is all about."
Dumiak opened the game with a three-point play and a jumper by George put American (22-8) on top 7-4 at the 13:40 mark. A pair of free throws by Dumiak gave the Eagles a four-point edge, 12-8, but Emily Homan hit a jumper to cut the advantage back to two with 7:13 remaining. The Leopards took an 18-16 lead on a 8-2 run with 1:46 left in the half but Holmes responded for American to knot it up. Lafayette closed out the half with five unanswered points as Linnel Macklin hit a three with two seconds left to send the Leopards into the intermission with a 23-18 lead.
Lafayette (14-16) outshot the Eagles 36.0 to 24.1 percent from the floor and 33.3 to 9.1 percent from beyond the arc in the first half.
The Leopards came out of the break with four straight points to take its largest lead, 27-20, at 17:12. Back-to-back buckets by Dobbs ended the run and cut the lead to one as a triple by the senior knotted it up at 29 with 13:48 to play. The game went back and forth before a triple by Dumiak and deep jumper by Abigail Fogg gave American a 36-33 advantage with 10:29 remaining.
The Eagles went on a 6-0 run for its largest lead, 42-37, with 6:38 to go and Lafayette was forced to call a timeout. Homan hit consecutive buckets to end the streak and another drive by Homan tied it up at 46 with 2:32 to play. Holmes hit a pair of free throws for a 50-48 American lead and Madeline Fahan went 1-of-2 from the line to maintain the Eagles' one-point edge. Dobbs hit a free throw to close out the scoring for the 51-49 final score as Macklin missed the game-tying shot at the buzzer to send American into the Patriot League Semifinals.
Homan finished with a double-double, posting a game-high 17 points and 12 rebounds. Fahan and Macklin notched 11 points apiece. Jamie O'Hare led the Leopards with six assists and added nine boards.
The Eagles shot 36.4 percent from the field in the game, going 13-for-26 from the floor in the second half, and went 18.2 percent from beyond the arc. Lafayette shot 31.4 percent from the field and were 3-of-11 from 3-point range.
American will travel to West Point, N.Y. for the Patriot League Semifinals on Monday, Mar. 10 at 7 p.m. Tickets in American's fan seating block are available for the game and can be purchased by calling (202) 885-TIXX. The game will be broadcast live on the Patriot League Network.