WASHINGTON - Sophomore Elina Koskimies had a career night on Wednesday, smashing through her scoring record to lead the American University women's basketball team to a clutch victory over Navy in Bender Arena, 50-48.
The Eagles now rise to 13-14 overall and 10-6 in the Patriot League to take over fourth-place in the conference. Navy entered the game tied with Bucknell for the No. 1 slot in the PL, but now falls into second with a 13-3 league record, 20-7 overall.
Koskimies drove the Eagles' scoring efforts, coming off the bench to put up 17 points, surpassing her previous career-high by six. She was instrumental in building American's 17-point lead in the third quarter, sandwiching a jumper from junior Emily Kinneston with a pair of treys to give the Eagles their much-needed cushion heading into the final ten minutes.
Kinneston joined Koskimies in the double-figures, putting up 14 points and seven rebounds. Senior Lauren Crisler led the team on the boards with eight rebounds and, for the first time this season, put up a team-high in assists with three for the night.
The Midshipmen were led by Sarita Condie's 15-point effort. Hannah Fenske added another 11 points while leading the team with eight rebounds.
The Eagles outperformed Navy in nearly every category, bringing down 40 rebounds while shooting 36.2 percent overall, 53.8 percent from the perimeter and 90 percent from the line. The Midshipmen went 32.3 percent from the floor, 41.2 percent from beyond the arc, and tallied only 33 rebounds. American brought Navy to the line only twice for the game.
Both teams put up a low-scoring first quarter, with the first basket not coming until the fourth minute when junior Maria Liddane put American on the board with her only three of the night. The Eagles gained a five-point edge over the Mids midway through the period after Koskimies hit her first of five treys, but a late 7-2 run by Navy tied the game up, 12-12, heading into the break.
It was a similar story in the second quarter, with the first three minutes passing before Crisler landed a jumper to give the Eagles back their two-point lead. Although Navy would tie the game twice before halftime, AU was able to hold the Mids to one of their lowest single-period scores of the season with only eight points in the second quarter. In fact, Navy's 20 points was their lowest halftime score since Nov. 13 when Tennessee held them to 20 points in the second half.
By the end of the first half, Navy had hit only nine of their 31 attempts from the field, shooting 29.0 percent overall, while the Eagles went 10-of-28 for 35.7 percent.
AU continued to hold the Mids to under ten points in the third quarter, with Navy scoring only six points to the Eagles' 17. The Eagles' 17-point cushion after the third proved to be the difference-maker, after Navy hit three back-to-back treys midway through the fourth to land close the gap to only four points. Another pair of long-range shots closed American's lead down to two with 11 seconds left, but a series of free throws from Kinneston and Liddane held the Mids advance at bay.
By the end of the game, Kinneston had joined Koskimies with a career tally of her own, going 8-of-8 from the free throw line.
American will return home for one final time this season, hosting Loyola Maryland on Saturday, Feb. 25, at 2 p.m. The game will also serve as the Eagles' Senior Day, with a pre-tipoff ceremony to celebrate the careers of Lauren Crisler and Jordan Light. Tickets for this and all AU Basketball home games can be purchased on AUEagles.com by clicking here.
For the latest on AU Women's Basketball, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_WBasketball.