WASHINGTON - The American University women's basketball team secured its home court advantage in the Patriot League Tournament Quarterfinal after outlasting Loyola Maryland during the regular season home finale, 66-59, on Saturday, Feb. 25. The Eagles will return to Bender Arena to play the No. 5 or No. 6 seed in the quarterfinal on Monday, March 6.
AU now breaks even in their season record with 14-14 overall and 11-6 in the Patriot League. The Greyhounds continue their losing streak with their eighth straight to sit at 9-19 overall and 5-12 in the league heading into the final game of the regular season.
Sophomore Cecily Carl was back on the court after sitting out for three games due to injury, and had quite the day with 14 points off the bench. Of those 14 points, 12 came from a set of key shots from the perimeter, as Carl hit a new career-high 4-of-4 from three-point range.
Sophomore Elina Koskimies joined her with a set of treys of her own, coming off her career-game against Navy on Wednesday, where she 5-of-6 from long range, to hit 3-of-4 against the Greyhounds.
Senior Lauren Crisler and junior Maria Liddane both landed at 12 points each to close out the double-figure scoring for the Eagles. Crisler helped lead the team on the boards, pulling down seven rebounds along with junior Michael Harris. Liddane put up a team-high six assists, followed by Kinneston with five.
The Eagles were able to shut down Loyola's top scorer, Bri Betz-White, holding her to a season-low four points for the day, all from the free throw line. The junior averaged 15.7 ppg heading into the midweek contest. Instead, it was senior Lauren Daugherty who led the way for the Greyhounds with 28 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Freshman Stephanie Karcz rounded out the double-figure scorers for Loyola with 13 points.
For only the second time this season, the Eagles were able to pull away for the victory with a lower shooting percentage than their opponents, hitting 36.5 percent from the floor to Loyola's 37.0%. Perimeter shooting and free throws made the difference, though, with American hitting 46.7 percent from beyond the arc and 84.0 percent from the line to Loyola's 33.3 percent and 75.0 percent, respectively.
AU also outworked the Greyhounds on the boards with 38 rebounds, and put up a game-high 13 assists while only turning the ball over ten times.
The Eagles started the game with a 6-0 run off, holding the Greyhounds scoreless until a jumpshot from Daugherty put Loyola on the board with 5:30 left in the quarter. Koskimies closed the quarter with her first trey of the night, pulling AU to an eight-point lead at 15-7 heading into the break.
The Greyhound found their rhythm in the second quarter, outscoring the Eagles 16-14. With just under two minutes left in the half, a free throw from Daugherty closed American's lead to two, but a quick pair of three's from Cecily Carl kept the Eagles ahead at halftime, 29-23.
AU build its lead back up in the third behind a pair of treys from Koskimies and a five-point tally by Carl, reaching as high as an 11-point margin before a pair of free throws from Betz-White and a jumper from Daugherty brought the Greyhounds within nine heading into the final ten minutes.
Although Loyola would close to within three midway through the fourth, a pair of free throws from sophomore Kaitlyn Lewis launched the Eagles into a 6-0 run to stay out of reach. One final three from Carl closed out the scoring on the floor for AU with 1:32 remaining, followed by two sets of free throws from both Kinneston and Liddane.
The Eagles will be back on the road for one final regular season game, traveling to Navy on Wednesday, March 1, for a 7 p.m. tipoff. For the latest on AU Women's Basketball, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_WBasketball.
A FOND FAREWELL
Although the Eagles will return to Bender on March 6, Saturday also served as Senior Day as American recognized the leadership and success of Lauren Crisler and Jordan Light. Both will leave American after historical careers, including helping guide the team to the WNIT in 2014 and its first NCAA Tournament in 2015.
Crisler will graduate with a degree in finance, minor in economics. A 2015-16 All-Patriot League Third Team selection and 2016-17 All-Patriot League Preseason Team member, she will close her career with over 632 points and 403 rebounds.
Light will earn her degree in business administration. She was a two-time Patriot League Honor Roll member, and tallied 221 points and 129 rebounds in her 96 games wearing the red, white and blue.
Patriot League Women's Basketball Tournament Quarterfinal Ticket Information at American on Monday, March 6, at 7 p.m. - TICKETS ON SALE NOW
With their victory over Loyola on Saturday, the Eagles have clinched a top-four seed in the 2017 Patriot League Tournament. They have earned a first round bye and are now guaranteed to host a quarterfinal round game in Bender Arena as the No. 3 or No. 4 seed on Monday, March 6, at 7 p.m.
Ticket prices for this game, set by the Patriot League, are $8 for adults and $4 for seniors and youth. They are on sale now via AUEagles.com/Tickets. Fans can also visit the Athletics Ticket Office in person, or call (202) 855-TIXX (8499) Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. AU Students will be admitted free with a valid AU ID.