WASHINGTON - Growth has been one of the themes of the season for the American University women's basketball team. After holding Bucknell to its closest Patriot League victory of the season a few weeks ago, pushing the game into overtime before falling, 73-67, the Eagles came back to serve the Bison their first conference loss of the season on Wednesday, Feb. 1, 59-47.
The Eagles are now 10-11 for the season, 7-3 in the PL, while Bucknell falls to 17-4 overall and 9-1 in conference play.
Junior Michael Harris led the Eagles with a career-high 16 points off the bench, followed by 13 points from junior Emily Kinneston and 12 points by sophomore Cecily Carl. Kinneston also led the team on the boards with six rebounds while junior Maria Liddane contributed a team-high five assists.
American shot 45.0 percent from the floor off of 18-of-40, and went 77.8 percent from the line.
On the defensive end, the Eagles all but shut down the Bison's scoring efforts, holding a team that averages 67 ppg to only 47 points. Claire DeBoer and Kaitlyn Slagus were the only two players to score around their averages with 17 points and 11 points, respectively.
Sune Swart, who held a 12.1 ppg average heading into the contest, was held to only eight points by the strong defensive effort of Carl, who also drew key fouls before Swart fouled out of the game late in the fourth period. Megan McGurk and Catherine Romaine were the only other two players to contribute to the Bison's final tally with six points and five points, respectively.
The Eagles held Bucknell to one of their lowest performances of the season from the floor, shooting only 39.1 percent (18-of-46) while also forcing 23 turnovers, the highest for the Bison since their 65-50 loss against North Carolina in November.
AU took control of the game's momentum from the whistle, going on a 6-0 run to start the game. The Eagles continued to set the tone for the game throughout the rest of the half, building up to a 16-point lead during the second period after a 9-2 solo run by Harris. By the close of the second period, Harris had tied her career-high with 13 points.
American entered the locker room at the half with a 31-20 lead over Bucknell, holding the Bison to their lowest halftime score of the season.
Bucknell found their rhythm after the break, nearly matching the Eagles point-for-point during the third period. Although the Bison landed within seven points of AU during the fourth quarter, some late free throws from the Eagles, along with a pair of jumpers from Liddane and Kinneston, pulled the Eagles back up to a 12-point lead by the final whistle.
The Eagles now look forward to a pair of road games, starting with a trip to Lehigh on Saturday, Feb. 4, before heading up to Boston University on Feb. 8. For the latest on AU Women's Basketball, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_WBasketball.