WASHINGTON – The American University women's basketball came away with an exciting overtime victory against Youngstown State at home on Saturday, 78-72.
The Eagles are now 5-3 overall this season while the Penguins fall to 2-5.
Junior Kaitlyn Lewis led the team with a season-high 16 points. She was one of three Eagles to land in double-figures alongside junior Cecily Carl (12 points) and senior Emily Kinneston (11 points). Kinneston led the team on the boards for the second consecutive game with five rebounds.
Seniors Maria Liddane and Kate Bond also put up key points as they both shot 2-of-3 from 3-point range. Bond closed the game with a season-high six points and Liddane ended with eight. Freshman Indeya Sanders stepped up as the No. 2 scorer off the bench with a season-high nine points, going 2-for-5 from the floor and 5-for-6 from the free throw line.
Youngstown State had two players in double-figures starting with Sarah Cash's 25-point effort. Nikki Arbanas contributed another 19 while McKenah Peters led the team with nine rebounds.
Once again, the Eagles' bench put up an impressive performance with a season-high 31 points, leading YSU's reserves by 14 points. AU also led in field goal percentage, shooting a season-high 53.8 percent to the Penguins' 38.7 percent (28-for-52) while also putting up one of their best performances from 3-point range with 38.1 percent, hitting 8-of-21.
AU also hit a new season-high with 18 assists.
The Eagles separated themselves from the Penguins early on after an 8-0 run put them up by six points midway through the first quarter. A couple of three's by YSU put them back within striking distance by the first break, as the Eagles' lead was cut down to three points at 19-16.
That would be the story for much of the game, as AU built back up to that six-point cushion off of a three from Liddane within the first two minutes of the second quarter. A 5-0 run from YSU brought the Penguins back within one at 24-23 midway through the quarter, and the Eagles were unable to gain more than a four-point advantage for the rest of the half as they entered the break at 33-31.
Carl and Lewis led the team early in the third quarter, going back and forth during a 12-3 run to bring AU to one of its largest leads of the game at 45-37.
Freshman Indeya Sanders came off the bench to hit four consecutive free throws, helping the Eagles gap YSU even more at 49-39 with two minutes left in the quarter.
The Penguins held AU to one of its lowest fourth-quarter tallies of the season, though, as YSU led the final 10 minutes of the game, 21-13. A 9-0 run by Youngstown State tied the game at 57-57 with three minutes left in regulation, but a pair of jumpers from Kinneston and Carl held the Penguins at bay.
YSU came back within one after a three from Chelsea Olson in the final two minutes. Kinneston responded with a three of her own before Nikki Arbanas, who shot 6-for-11 from long-range for the Penguins, brought YSU back within one with less than a minute on the clock. A foul on senior Michael Harris brought Youngstown State's Sarah Cash to the line where she tied the game at 64-64 but failed to take the lead as she registered her only miss of the night from the charity stripe.
Both teams failed to capitalize on final opportunities in the last 40 seconds of regulation, and AU was pushed into its first overtime game of the season.
AU retook the lead right out of the gate with an early free throw from Carl, and Youngstown was unable to keep up as a clutch three from Lewis and free throws from junior Elina Koskimies, Kinneston and Liddane sent the Eagles on a 14-8 run in extra time to close the game at 78-72.
The Eagles will return to Bender Arena on Saturday, December 9, with a noon showdown against Denver. Tickets for this and all AU basketball home games can be purchased by clicking here. Admission is free for AU students with a valid ID.
For the latest on AU Women's Basketball, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_WBasketball.