WASHINGTON – In its lowest scoring game of the season, the American University women's basketball team held on for a 45-42 victory over Army on Saturday afternoon in Bender Arena.
With the win, the Eagles moved to 19-8 overall and 14-2 in the Patriot League, while the Black Knights fell to 21-6 overall and 12-4 in the league.
Junior Ari Booth knocked down a pair of free throws with 11 seconds remaining to ice the win for American, which takes a two-game lead in the league standings.
Despite leading throughout the game, the Eagles had to fight off a second-half rally by Army. American, which took a 27-19 advantage into the locker room, struggled offensively after the break, shooting just 23.8 percent from the field.
The Black Knights got within striking distance several times in the second half, but the Eagles had an answer every time. After Army cut the margin to 29-27 early in the period, American pushed its lead back to eight with a three-point play by junior Michelle Holmes and a three-pointer by Booth.
With just under three minutes remaining, Army again closed to within two points, but AU scored five straight, including a trey by senior Shaquilla Curtis with 1:16 on the clock. The Black Knights were still not finished battling, cutting American's lead to 43-41 with 45 seconds remaining and forcing an AU turnover to regain possession.
After a pair of missed field goals, Army's Daizjah Morris was fouled on an offensive rebound, heading to the free throw line for two shots with 12.7 seconds on the clock. She missed the second and Booth was fouled on the rebound, setting up the final two free throws of the game.
Holmes was the lone Eagle to score in double figures, finishing with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting, while Curtis added six points, seven rebounds and a game-high five assists.
For the Black Knights, Kelsey Minato led the way with a game-high 19 points.
"We gutted this one out on both ends of the floor," said American head coach Megan Gebbia. "We didn't shoot the ball well. If you told me that we were going to shoot 34 percent and win, I would have said you were kidding.
"[Army is] a great team, and they play great team defense as well. It was a battle, and we knew we had to finish out the second half. We played a better first half, but we just found a way [to win]. I'm so proud of them."
American plays its final regular-season road game on Wednesday, Feb. 25, when it visits Navy in a 7 p.m. contest.