WORCESTER, Mass. – With a 34-14 advantage in the final 10 minutes, the American University women's basketball team defeated Holy Cross, 74-63, Saturday afternoon at the Hart Center.
The Eagles improved to 7-6 overall and 2-0 in the Patriot League, while the Crusaders fell to 5-10 overall and 1-1 in the league.
The Eagles were cold to start the game, making just one of their first 13 field goal attempts, allowing the Crusaders to push out to a 13-4 lead in the first eight minutes. A layup by Holmes broke AU's scoring drought, as American shot 50 percent over the remainder of the half.
A pair of free throws by Dumiak with three minutes remaining in the first half cut the Eagles' deficit to three points, but Holy Cross closed out the period with six unanswered points to take a 31-25 lead at the intermission.
American went on a quick 10-2 run to open the second half, closing the margin to 33-32. Holy Cross responded to push its lead back to nine points, holding a 49-40 advantage with over 10 minutes to play. However, the Eagles began their comeback, keyed by back-to-back three-pointers from sophomore Ari Booth and Zimmerman.
With AU trailing by four, Holmes began to take over on the inside, scoring a pair of baskets to tie the game at 53-53. While the two teams traded baskets, Dumiak drained a three-pointer with just under four minutes remaining to put the Eagles ahead 62-59, and American never looked back.
"At halftime, we talked about how we needed to come out on fire, especially defensively, and take good shots and make smart decisions," said American head coach Megan Gebbia. "We got a little but of transition going, so we got some easy baskets. Once we got the lead to one, I think the team settled down and knew that they could play and win the game."
The Eagles shot an impressive 64.3 percent from the field in the second half, finishing the game at 47.3 percent. American also had eight turnovers in the game, committing just one in the second half.
AU had a significant advantage at the foul line, knocking down 17-of-20 attempts, led by Dumiak, who was a perfect 12-of-12 at the stripe. Meanwhile, the Crusaders hit just 3-of-7 at the line.
"Michelle was huge on the block," said Gebbia. "She was able to limit their touches and their makes and she controlled the paint in the second half. Jen not only scored most of her points in the second half, but she had 11 of our 18 assists, which was huge for her. She found the right people and she played under control in the second half, which helped us gain the lead and keep the lead."
After seven straight games on the road, the Eagles return home on Wednesday, Jan. 7, as they host Loyola Maryland in a 7 p.m. contest.