WASHINGTON – After trailing by as many as 11 points in the opening stanza, the American University women's basketball team came back for a 74-64 victory over Lehigh on Wednesday evening in Bender Arena.
With the win, the Eagles moved to 16-8 on the season and 11-2 in the Patriot League, while the Mountain Hawks fell to 16-7 overall and 8-5 in the league.
Senior Jen Dumiak finished with 21 points, nine assists and eight rebounds to pace American, while classmate Arron Zimmerman pitched in a season-high 19 points. Meanwhile, senior Shaquilla Curtis added nine points and a career-high 10 rebounds.
The Eagles started out cold, making just one of their first seven shots as Lehigh took an 11-2 lead five minutes into the contest. The Mountain Hawks were able to push their advantage to double figures, leading 22-11 before American went on a run, closing within a single point late in the half.
Curtis capped off the Eagles' first-half comeback, draining a three-pointer with five seconds remaining on the clock to head into the locker room tied at 31-31.
After the break, American quickly took the lead, pushing its advantage to double digits just three minutes into the half. While back-to-back three-pointers by Lehigh's Sarah Williams cut AU's lead to four points, the Eagles responded with a 21-8 run to take a 66-49 lead with 7:22 remaining.
Although the Mountain Hawks tried to make a comeback down the stretch, they were never able to get closer than 10 points, as American held on to remain in first place in the Patriot League standings.
"[Overcoming our slow start was] just getting stops on the defensive end and turning up our pressure a little bit," said American head coach Megan Gebbia. "Stopping their dribble penetration helped a little bit and we were able to settle in.
"I think we started off a little frantic and out of sync. Once we got ourselves back in sync, I think things worked a lot better."
For the game, American shot 50.8 percent from the field and 53.8 percent from beyond the arc, hitting four-of-five three-pointers in the first half alone. The Eagles also won the battle of the boards, outrebounding the Mountain Hawks, 37-33.
Lehigh had four different players finish in double figures scoring, led by Katie O'Reilly with 16 points.
The Eagles return to action this Saturday, Feb. 14, as they visit Lafayette in a 2 p.m. contest.