Game 9 · American (5-3) vs. Denver (6-4)
Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017 · Noon ET · Washington, D.C. (Bender Arena)
All-Time Record: First Meeting
Stream: Patriot League Network on Watch Stadium
WASHINGTON - The American University women's basketball team is closing its first two-game homestand of the season on Saturday with a noon tipoff against Denver. The women will open AU's only basketball doubleheader of the season, as the men's team will take the court at 4 p.m. against crosstown rival, Howard.
The Eagles are 5-3 after topping Youngstown State, 78-72, in the team's first overtime contest of the season. The Pioneers come into Saturday with a 6-4 record after coming away with a 70-48 win over UMBC on Thursday.
Saturday will be the first meeting between AU and Denver. This is the second time this season that the Eagles have played in a series debut after they opened the season at Tulsa on Nov. 10 (W, 72-67).
Denver is only the second Summit League team that American has played in its 51-year history. The Eagles hold a 1-2 record against Western Illinois.
SCOUTING THE EAGLES
American was pushed into its first overtime of the season on Saturday against Youngstown State, eventually tallying the victory, 78-72. Junior Kaitlyn Lewis led the team for the second consecutive game with 16 points, a new season-best. The bench hit a season-high 31 points against YSU, tying the season-high from last year which was hit at Youngstown State.
The Eagles shot a season-best 53.8 percent from the field - a season-high and the highest shooting percentage for the team since last year's matchup against the Penguins (.547).
Senior Emily Kinneston leads the team with 12.4 ppg, followed by junior Cecily Carl's 10.1 ppg Carl also leads the team on the boards (8.8 rpg) while Kinneston ranks second (6.1 rpg) and leads the team in assists (3.9 apg).
The Eagles are averaging 63.8 ppg with 40.7 percent shooting from the field and 30.1 percent from beyond the arc. They have held their opponents to 63.1 ppg and 37.3 percent shooting, and average 34.0 rpg, 12.4 apg, 13.5 turnovers per game and 7.9 steals per game.
SCOUTING THE PIONEERS
Denver opened its two-game weekend on the east coast with a 70-48 win over UMBC on Thursday. Briana Johnson led the scoring with 13 points, followed by Grace White for 12 and Jordyn Alt with 10. White brought down a team-high six rebounds while freshman Carie Weinman led with five assists.
Weinman came into the UMBC game after leading the team's 62-point bench performance with 34 of her own, hitting a new career-high during the 80-73 comeback win over Northern Arizona. She is currently ranked third in the NCAA with her 59.4 percent from 3-point range.
Madison Nelson is the only player averaging double-figures with 10.1 ppg. Alt leads the team on the boards with 7.7 rpg while Johnson has served as the team's top distributor with 3.3 apg.
Denver has averaged 68.9 ppg off of 38.5 percent shooting from the field and 36.3 percent from 3-point range. The Pioneers have held their opponents to 60.4 ppg and 38.5 percent from the field. They average 41.5 rpg, 14.3 apg, 14.1 turnovers per game and 7.8 steals per game.
THE LAST TIME OUT
The Eagles put up their best field goal shooting percentage of the season on Saturday as they powered to a 78-72 overtime win against Youngstown State. The team's 53.8 percent (28-52) from the field was the highest since they beat the Penguins on the road in the season opener last season (.547). Saturday was also the highest bench production since last year's game at YSU. Both times the Eagles' reserves hit 31 points.
Junior Kaitlyn Lewis led the team with a season-high 16 points, hitting double-figures for the second consecutive game after she helped lead the team to the win over UMBC with 11 points on Wednesday. Junior Cecily Carl (12 pts.) and senior Emily Kinneston (11 pts.) were the only two Eagles to put up double-figures, making this the fifth game this season that at least three players scored 10 points or more.
Kinneston also lead the team on the boards for the second consecutive game with five rebounds, and had her fourth consecutive game as the Eagles' top distributor with six assists.
Seniors Maria Liddane and Kate Bond also put up key points, shooting 2-for-3 from 3-point range. Bond closed the game with a season-high six points while Liddane ended with eight. Freshman Indeya Sanders was the No. 2 scorer off the bench with a season-high nine points, shooting 2-of-5 from the floor and 5-of-6 from the free throw line.
After a late run from YSU tied the game at 64-64 to send the game into overtime, AU dominated the extra period with a 14-8 run. A key three from Lewis and free throws from Lewis, junior Elina Koskimies, and Liddane also built up momentum as the Eagles separated themselves from the Penguins.
AU continued to struggle on the boards, bringing down only 29 rebounds to the Penguins' 36, and converting three second-chance points while YSU hit 12.
The Eagles and Pioneers only share one opponent on their schedules this season with UMBC.
AU extended UMBC's losing streak to five consecutive games after a 61-48 win in Baltimore on Wednesday, Nov. 29. The Eagles shot 40.7 percent from the field (24-59) while holding UMBC to 32.7 percent (17-52), but UMBC led from beyond the arc, 46.2 percent (6-13) to 25.0 percent (4-16). That game was one of four so far this season at AU outperformed an opponent on the boards, bringing down a total of 37 rebounds.
The Pioneers opened up their two-game east coast series at UMBC on Thursday where they secured a dominating 70-48 win over the Retrievers. Denver shot 48.3 percent (29-60) from the field and 43.5 percent from 3-point range (10-23) while UMBC shot 37.5 percent (21-56) from the field and 16.7 percent (3-18) from long range. Denver also edged the Retrievers on the boards, bringing down 36 rebounds to UMBC's 30.
#AUWBB AT HOME
The Eagles are currently on a six-game winning streak at home that dates back to the 2016-17 season. The last AU loss in Bender Arena was February 11, 2017, against Army (68-57). It has also been over a year since the Eagles last loss to a nonconference opponent on their home court. William & Mary overcame the Eagles, 48-34, at home on December 3, 2016.
Head Coach Megan Gebbia is currently 41-20 (.672) at home since she took the program over in 2013...
- 2013-14: 12-3
- 2014-15: 12-4
- 2015-16: 5-9
- 2016-17: 10-4
STAKES IN THE STARTING FIVE
Of the AU starters this year, three return after consistently starting in 2016-17 with junior Cecily Carl, senior Emily Kinneston and senior Maria Liddane. Junior Michael Harris made the starting lineup five times last season, and junior Elina Koskimies four.
Liddane currently holds the run in the starting lineup at 52 consecutive games, dating back to her sophomore season. Kinneston follows with 39 consecutive games after she started all 31 last season.
Both Liddane and Kinneston have started 61 games in their careers, followed by Carl with 54.
STRENGTH OFF THE BENCH
The Eagles have outscored their opponents' bench, 172-142, so far this season, averaging 21.5 ppg. AU hit a new season-high 31 points against Youngstown State, tying their season-best from last season which also came out of a Youngstown State contest.
Junior Kaitlyn Lewis (9.0 ppg) and sophomore Katie Marenyi (4.1 ppg) have been the most consistent contributors out of the reserves and have been the only two players outside of the starters who have put in minutes in all eight games this season.
Lewis currently leads the bench with 9.0 ppg, shooting 37.3 percent (25-67) from the field and 38.7 percent (12-31) from 3-point range. She also averages 1.8 assists per game and 1.5 rpg. Marenyi ranks seventh on the team with 4.1 ppg, shooting 34.4 percent (11-32) from the field and 18.2 percent (2-11) from long-range. She is fourth with 1.6 assists per game and averages 2.1 rpg.
Lewis, senior Io Chaney and sophomore TaeKenya Cleveland have all come off the bench to lead the team in scoring this season. Lewis and Cleveland both a team-high 11 points against UMBC while Chaney led with 10 points against Delaware. For both Cleveland and Chaney, those were the first games of their career that they led the Eagles in scoring.
RUNNING THE GAMUT
Senior Emily Kinneston continues to establish herself as one of the most well-rounded players in the Patriot League. She is one of only two players in the conference to be ranked in the top-15 in points (No. 12), rebounds (No. 14), assists (No. 3), and steals (No. 11). Loyola Maryland's Stephanie Karcz is the only other player to match Kinneston across the board.
Kinneston has led the Eagles' scoring efforts since the season opener at Tulsa, when she fell just one point short of her single-game career high with 25. She is one of two players to open a season with over 20 points since head coach Megan Gebbia took over the program in 2013, and holds two of the top five single-game point tallies.
LEADING THE RESERVES
Junior Kaitlyn Lewis has been a consistent performer for the Eagles off the bench, putting up four double-figure performances to rank third on the team with 9.0 ppg.
The 13 points against both Vermont and George Mason was the second time in her career that she reached double-figures in consecutive games. She did it again last week with her team-high 11 points against UMBC before leading the team again with a season-high 16 points against Youngstown State.
The UMBC game also marked the second time in her career that she put in over 25 minutes in a game without committing a single turnover.
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