Game 7 · American (3-3) at UMBC (1-6)
Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017 · 7 p.m. ET · Baltimore, Md. (RAC Arena)
All-Time Record: American leads, 11-6
WASHINGTON - The American University women's basketball team will round out its five-game road series tonight with a 7 p.m. tipoff at UMBC.
The Eagles are 3-3 so far this season after splitting the two games over Thanksgiving weekend at the TD Bank Classic in Burlington, Vt. AU opened with a last-second win over host Vermont, 64-62, before falling to Villanova, 65-60, on Saturday. The Retrievers (1-6) enter the midweek game with only one win under their belt so far this season after their dominating 72-45 victory over Gettysburg on Nov. 14.
This will be the 18th meeting between the Eagles and Retrievers since 1990 when AU claimed the series opener in Washington, 83-71.
American has won five of the last six games with the only loss coming out of the 2015-16 season when the Retrievers narrowly defended their home court, 47-46. The Eagles were back on top last season with a decisive 70-53 victory at Bender Arena.
THE LAST TIME OUT
The Eagles split the two games during the TD Bank Classic in Burlington, Vt., registering a late win over host Vermont, 64-62, before falling to Villanova, 65-60, in the tournament championship game.
Junior Cecily Carl led the team in both games, earning two consecutive double-doubles with 21 points and 10 rebounds against Vermont, and 11 points and 14 rebounds against Villanova. That 21-point tally tied her career-high from last season while the 14 rebounds against the Wildcats was a new career-record.
Senior Emily Kinneston also put up a pair of exciting performances. The Shelburne, Vt., native played in her home state for the first time since high school and put up quite the show, scoring the buzzer-beater against Vermont to lead the team to victory.
Kinneston closed the weekend with a total of 26 points after scoring 16 against Vermont and 10 against Villanova, falling just a couple rebounds short of a double-double.
Junior Kaitlyn Lewis tied her season-high with 13 points against Vermont, going 4-of-11 from the field and 2-of-7 from 3-point range.
After pulling only Lewis and sophomore Katie Marenyi from the bench during the Vermont game, the Eagles dug deep into its bench against Villanova, playing 12 of their 13 in-uniform players. Of the seven players who came off the bench, five added their names to the scoreline - Lewis (7 points), freshman Maddie Royle (7 points), sophomore TaeKenya Cleveland (3 points), freshman Indeya Sanders (3 points), and Marenyi (2 points).
Both games saw late comebacks from the Eagles - AU trailed Vermont 36-29 at the half but led the third (17-12) and fourth (18-14) quarters to eventually take the two-point win. The team overcame a significant 39-24 deficit at the half against Villanova, outscoring the Wildcats 26-10 in the fourth to close just five points below a team that received votes in the most recent AP and Coaches Polls.
SCOUTING THE RETRIEVERS
UMBC is coming off a pair of losses at the Navy Classic over the weekend, falling to St. Bonaventure (63-54) and North Dakota State (67-53). The Retrievers' only win of the season was a dominating 72-45 victory over Gettysburg on Nov. 14. They have since lost four consecutive games.
Senior Laura Castaldo leads UMBC with 14.3 ppg. She had a pair of solid performances over the weekend, leading the team with 17 points against the Bonnies and a career-high 25 against the Bison.
Castaldo ranks second on the team on the boards behind freshman Janee'a Summers (6.9 rpg). Summers is third on the team with 9.0 ppg behind sophomore Te'yJah Oliver (9.7 ppg).
UMBC averages 56.6 ppg to its opponents' 66.0 ppg, and is shooting 34.1 percent from the field, 26.0 percent from 3-point range, and 71.7 percent from the free throw line.
Last weekend's tournament in Burlington, Vt., was a homecoming for senior Emily Kinneston, who grew up in nearby Shelburne (Champlain Valley Union). This is the first time Kinneston has played in her home state since graduating high school in 2014.
Kinneston certainly made the most of it, hitting the buzzer-beater to win Friday's game against host Vermont, 64-62. She was second on the team in scoring during both games over the weekend, putting up 16 points against Vermont and 10 against Villanova.
The Vermont trip was the second time this season that an AU senior made a return to her home state - Kate Bond (Norman, Okla.) played in Oklahoma for the first time since high school when the Eagles opened the season at Tulsa (11/13).
CARL GAINING MOMENTUM
Junior Cecily Carl was back atop the scoresheet for the Eagles over the weekend, putting up back-to-back double-doubles for the first time in her career.
She led the team with 10 rebounds and tied her career-high with 21 points against Vermont before returning to post another career-high with 14 rebounds and 11 points against Villanova.
These were a long time coming for Carl, who had fallen just shy of double-doubles against Tulsa (9 pts., 11 reb.) and Delaware (9 pts., 10 reb.). She came into the season with five double-doubles from her freshman (two) and sophomore (three) campaigns.
She leads the team with 9.5 rpg and joins Kinneston as the only two Eagles to currently average in the double-figures for scoring with 11.5 ppg.
THE SECOND HALF GRIND
The Eagles have outscored their opponents in the second half in four of their six games this season, including the two most recent against Vermont and Villanova.
Delaware (11/16) and George Mason (11/20) were the only two teams this year that held AU at bay in the second half. Delaware extended its 3-point halftime lead to 16 points (72-56) by the final whistle with a 42-29 second-half performance.
George Mason, on the other hand, was held to a 3-point deficit by the Eagles at halftime but went on a 39-19 run in the final two quarters to win by 18 points (71-53).
AU was on the other side of that coin during Friday's win over Vermont, as they trailed the Catamounts, 36-29, heading into halftime before putting up a 35-26 second half score to take the lead.
The Eagles had another impressive second-half run against Villanova, as they trailed the Wildcats, 39-24, after the first half. AU went on a 36-26 run in the second half, including a 26-10 fourth quarter, to fall just short of topping Villanova, 65-60.
STRENGTH OFF THE BENCH
The Eagles have outscored their opponents' bench, 115-99, so far this season.
Leading the charge for the reserves are junior Kaitlyn Lewis and sophomore Katie Marenyi. They are the only two players outside of the starters to have put in minutes in every game so far this season.
Lewis is averaging 7.5 ppg off of 31.9 percent from the field, including 36.0 percent from 3-point range. Marenyi is shooting 39.3 percent from the field for 5.5 ppg, and ranks second on the team with 1.8 assists per game.
The Eagles will be back on the road on Wednesday with a 7 p.m. tipoff at UMBC before returning home on Saturday for a 2 p.m. game against Youngstown State. Tickets for this and all AU basketball home games can be purchased by clicking here.
For the latest on AU Women's Basketball, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_WBasketball.