LEWISBURG, Pa. – The American University women's basketball team's historic win-streak was brought to a close on Saturday with a 57-52 loss to Bucknell. This was the first loss for AU since George Washington on Dec. 17 (61-44).
The Eagles (23-5, 16-1 PL) remain the top-seed in the Patriot League Tournament after securing the regular season title on Wednesday. The Bison (20-8, 14-3 PL) now solidify themselves as the No. 2 seed in the PL tournament with their 10th consecutive victory.
Senior Emily Kinneston led the team with a game-high 20 points followed by classmate Michael Harris with 16. Juniors Cecily Carl and Elina Koskimies both led the team on the boards with 10 rebounds each, tying Koskimies' career-high, while sophomore Kaitlyn Marenyi contributed a team-high five assists.
The Eagles struggled from the free throw line, shooting a season-low 50 percent (10-for-20). This is the second time this season that AU shot below 60 percent from the line against Bucknell after they hit 58.3 percent (14-24) during the home victory on Dec. 29.
They closed with 32.2 percent from the field (20-for-62) while holding the Bison to one of their lowest shooting percentages of the season with 29.8 percent (17-for-57). Bucknell made up for it from the charity stripe, though, hitting 19-for-24 (.792) from the line.
Bucknell was led by an 18-point effort from Kyi English. Kaitlyn Slagus followed with a double-double, landing 12 points while bringing down a game-high 17 rebounds. Ellie Mack closed out the double-figure scoring for the Bison with 11 points while Catherine Romaine brought down another 11 rebounds.
An early run in the first quarter gave Bucknell the advantage from the start, as they built a four-point lead before a pair of free throws from Kinneston put the Eagles on the board. A layup from Koskimies after a Bison turnover cut that lead down to one at 7-6 with five minutes left in the quarter, but a late run by the Bison including a final-second layup, rebuilt a five-point gap by the end of the stanza.
Harris led the charge with nine points as AU regained some momentum in the second quarter. She opened and closed a 9-0 run with a pair of jumpers to give the team its largest lead of the game at 23-19 midway through the quarter. But early foul trouble haunted the Eagles after a pair of fouls by both Kinneston and senior Maria Liddane limited them to less than 10 minutes in the first half. The Bison regained a two-point lead with a minute left, but a final-second layup from freshman Indeya Sanders evened the score at 27-27 heading into the locker room.
Kinneston opened the half with a quick bucket to retake the lead, but her third foul put her back on the sideline alongside Liddane, who was called for her third in the fifth minute of the quarter. A key trey form Marenyi put AU back up by two with one minute left in the third, but a pair of Bucknell free throws tied the game back up at 36-36 heading into the final stretch.
For the second time this season, Bucknell controlled the fourth quarter, building up a seven-point lead before a six-point run from Kinneston brought the Eagles back within one at 50-49 with less than two minutes to play. A trey and 4-for-6 shooting from the line down the stretch sealed AU's fate, though, as Bucknell stretched its lead back to five by the final buzzer.
The Eagles will be back on the road one last time on Wednesday as they close the regular season with a 7 p.m. tipoff at Navy.
The Eagles will return to Bender Arena for the Patriot League Tournament quarterfinal round on Monday, March 5. Ticket prices for the quarterfinal game, set by the Patriot League, are $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and youth. Rates for groups with 10+ are $3 per person. Tickets are now on sale via AUEagles.com/Tickets. Fans can also visit the Athletics Ticket Office in person, or call (202) 885-TIXX (8499) Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
For the latest on American University Women's Basketball, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_WBasketball.