Game 12 · American (7-4) vs. Bucknell (6-5)
Friday, Dec. 29, 2017 · 7 p.m. ET · Washington, D.C. (Bender Arena)
All-Time Record: American leads, 24-17
Stream: Patriot League Network on Watch Stadium
WASHINGTON - The American University women's basketball team will open its Patriot League schedule on Friday with a 7 p.m. tipoff against Bucknell in Bender Arena.
The Eagles closed the non-conference slate with a 7-4 record after staging an overtime upset over Penn State on Dec. 20, 75-66. The Bison, on the other hand, rounded out their non-conference games with two consecutive losses to Pitt and Iona, and enter PL play at 6-5 overall.
American leads the 42-game series against Bucknell, 24-17. The Eagles claimed the series opener on January 15, 1983, with a final score of 77-72.
The two teams last met on March 10, 2017, when Bucknell knocked AU out of the Patriot League Tournament in the semifinal round, 69-57. They split the two regular-season games last season, with the Eagles and Bison each winning on their respective home courts.
Head Coach Megan Gebbia is currently 5-5 against Bucknell since she arrived at AU in 2013-14.
SCOUTING THE EAGLES
American enters conference play after one of its biggest wins in recent history, coming back from an 11-point deficit to beat Penn State in overtime, 75-66.
Senior Emily Kinneston led the Eagles with her third 20+ point performance of the season (23 points), and continues to lead the team's overall scoring efforts with 14.0 ppg.
Junior Cecily Carl also continues to average in the double-figures with 10.3 ppg, and leads the team on the boards with 8.3 rpg.
The Eagles shot a season-high 92 percent from the free throw line (23-for-25) during the win over Penn State, and now lead the PL with a 75.4 shooting percentage from the line. AU also leads the PL with the fewest turnovers per game (13.8) and ranks second in the league behind Navy with a 0.92 assist/turnover ratio.
SCOUTING THE BISON
Bucknell dropped to 6-5 in non-conference play after falling to Pitt in its lowest-scoring game yet of the season, 57-39. This was the Bison's second consecutive loss after they dropped a four-game winning streak with a loss to Iona, 71-62, on Dec. 17. The Bison gave up 28 turnovers against Pitt while shooting only 29 percent from the field, and 50 percent from the free throw line. Junior Kaitlyn Slagus led the Bison with 13 points and eight rebounds.
Slagus leads the team in both categories so far this season, averaging 12.6 ppg and 8.6 rpg.
Junior Kyi English, who leads the team in assists (3.1 apg), is the only other player averaging in double-figures with 12.1 ppg.
The Bison average a league-high 19.9 turnovers per game and rank ninth in the PL with a 0.64 assist/turnover ratio.
THE LAST TIME OUT
American's senior class closed its final regular season non-conference game in style, leading the Eagles to an overtime upset over Penn State, 75-66. This was the program's first-ever win over Penn State, who entered the mid-week matinee with a 4-0 advantage in the series against the Eagles.
Seniors Emily Kinneston and Michael Harris led the scoring efforts for AU with 23 points and 10 points, respectively. But it was senior Kate Bond who turned the tide off the bench, putting up back-to-back treys in the final minutes of the fourth quarter to cut the Penn State lead down to two.
Sophomore Katie Marenyi also contributed nine points, hitting a three early in the fourth and shooting a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line in overtime.
The Eagles shot 37.7 percent from the floor (23-for-61) while holding Penn State to its second-lowest scoring percentage of the season at 33.3 percent (20-for-60). AU hit a new season-high from the line, hitting 23 of 25 from the charity stripe for 92 percent.
Both teams reached new season-highs in fouls as AU led with 27 followed by Penn State with 25. Six players fouled out of the game during the final 15 minutes of play - De'Janae Boykin (PSU), Jaylen Williams (PSU), Amari Carter (PSU), Cecily Carl (AU), Kaitlyn Lewis (AU), and Elina Koskimies (AU).
#AUWBB AT HOME
The Eagles extended their home win streak to eight consecutive games after the win over Penn State. American is 12-2 in Bender Arena in 2017 with losses only to Army West Point and Holy Cross in January.
The last AU loss in Bender Arena was February 11, 2017, against Army (68-57). The Eagles' last non-conference loss at home was against William & Mary, 48-34, on December 3, 2016.
A B1G TIME VICTORY
The Eagles are riding a lot of momentum heading into conference play after they tallied the program's 11th win over a Power Five school, beating Penn State 75-66 in overtime. Penn State is only the second Big Ten team that AU has beaten after the Eagles topped Maryland, 57-53, during the 1986-87 season.
This is the second Power Five victory for Head Coach Megan Gebbia and her staff after they bested Oregon, 72-64, during the 2014 South Point Thanksgiving Shootout. The Eagles went on to win the program's first Patriot League title and advance to the NCAA Tournament later that season. Prior to 2014, the last time AU tallied a victory over a Power Five school was in 1998-99 (Syracuse, 70-68).
THE NON-CONFERENCE SLATE
The Eagles are 7-4 at the conclusion of the regular season non-conference schedule. This ties with the 2013-14 season for the best non-conference record for Coach Gebbia and her staff.
KINNESTON LEADING THE WAY
Senior Emily Kinneston surpassed the 20-point mark for the third time this season, leading the team with 23 points against Penn State. She comes into the game with the team's first Patriot League Player of the Week nod of the season after being selected on Tuesday, Dec. 26.
Kinneston is maintaining career-high numbers with a .466 field goal percentage (55-for-118), 14.0 ppg, and 5.7 rpg. She also tied her single-game career-high with 26 points during the win over Denver.
She is one of two players in the Patriot League to be ranked in the top-15 for points (No. 6), rebounds (No. 15), assists (No. 2) and steals (No. 11). Loyola Maryland's Stephanie Karcz is the only other to match her across the board.
BOND WITH THE GOLDEN HAND
Senior Kate Bond has sparked some key runs off the bench this year with her 3-point range. Within two minutes after entering the game against Penn State, Bond threw up back-to-back treys to cut the Lady Lions' lead down to two points with less than two minutes left in regulation.
She contributed another three points during overtime to help the Eagles pull away for the win, earning a career-high nine points in her nine minutes of play.
Bond had a similar impact during the OT win over Youngstown State, as she put away a pair of three's in only six minutes of play in the second quarter.
HARRIS MAKING IT COUNT
Senior Michael Harris continues to hold the highest shooting percentage on the team with a career-high 47.8 percent from the field. She also leads the team with her career numbers, shooting 45.1 percent from the floor throughout her time as an Eagle.
She reached a new career-high with 17 points against George Washington, leading the team 47.1 percent from the floor (8-for-17).
Sophomore Katie Marenyi has stepped up as one of the top free throw shooters on the team, shooting 80 percent from the line so far this season. She hit a perfect 6-for-6 during overtime against Penn State to help build AU's final nine-point lead.
The young guard has been gaining key experience this season and has been another consistent presence off the bench. She is averaging 4.2 ppg, 1.9 rpg, 1.5 apg, and 0.9 steals in her 16.6 minutes per game.
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