PATRIOT LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP
Game 32 · #1 American (25-6, 16-2 PL) vs. #3 Navy (25-6, 13-5 PL)
Sunday, March 11, 2018 · 11 a.m. ET · Washington, D.C. (Bender Arena)
All-Time Record: American leads, 30-23
TV: CBS Sports Network
Jason Knapp (pxp) and Julianne Viani (color)
How to Watch: CBS Sports Network is available on YouTube TV, fuboTV and Hulu and through CBSSports.com and the CBS Sports app with select cable providers. For more information, go to CBSSportsNetwork.com
WASHINGTON - The American University women's basketball team will fight for its second Patriot League Tournament title and a berth into the NCAA Tournament on Sunday, as it hosts No. 3 Navy in Bender Arena for the league finale. The game, which will be nationally televised by the CBS Sports Network, will tip off at 11 a.m.
Both teams enter the contest with program records for most single-season wins, after the Eagles and Mids each moved up to 25-6 overall this season after their wins in the semifinal round. American clinched the Patriot League regular-season title with its 16-2 league record, while Navy ended in third at 13-5 in the conference.
The 53-game series between AU and Navy dates back to Feb. 16, 1978, when the Eagles beat the Mids in Annapolis, 75-53. Since then, American has claimed 30 wins to Navy's 23. Both teams lead the series on their respective home courts - AU is 19-5 in Bender Arena while Navy is 17-9 in Alumni Hall. The Eagles are currently on a six-game winning streak at home against Navy after the 46-41 victory in January. The last time American beat Navy in Annapolis was Feb. 25, 2015 (41-29).
After the 76-49 defeat to Navy in Annapolis on Feb. 28, the Eagles have now fallen to the Midshipmen in two consecutive regular-season finales. Navy also bested American, 60-44, in the close of the 2017 regular season.
The Eagles and Midshipmen have met in the Patriot League Tournament six times since 2004. American leads the postseason series, 4-2, with the last win coming out of the historic 2015 run. No. 1 AU outpaced No. 5 Navy in the semifinal round, 60-53, to advance to the championship game, where the Eagles won their first Patriot League Tournament title with a 66-50 win over Lehigh.
Head Coach Megan Gebbia is 7-4 against Navy since she arrived at AU in 2013-14. Navy head coach Stefanie Pemper is even in her record against the Eagles at 11-11 since 2009.
SCOUTING THE EAGLES
American outpaced Army West Point, 60-49, on Thursday to advance to the program's sixth Patriot League Championship title game. Senior Emily Kinneston and junior Cecily Carl both hit career-highs to lead the team - Kinneston scored a game-high 28 points, while Carl led on the boards with 16 rebounds. Carl also led the team with four blocks, falling just one shy of tying her career-high, while Kinneston nabbed three steals and sophomore Kaitlyn Marenyi contributed a team-high four assists.
AU shot 22-for-59 (.373) from the field, 4-for-13 (.308) from beyond the arc, and 12-for-15 (.800) from the line against the Black Knights, and led in rebounding, 41-40.
Kinneston is second in the Patriot League for scoring, averaging a team-high 15.9 ppg with 45.1 percent shooting from the floor. She also works as the PL's top distributor, averaging 4.3 assists per game, making her the only player in the conference to lead her team in both scoring and assists.
Carl, who recently celebrated a pair of milestones with 500 career rebounds and 100 career blocks, leads the Eagles on the boards with 8.3 rpg and is second with 12.7 ppg.
SCOUTING THE MIDSHIPMEN
The No. 3 Mids won at No. 2 Bucknell on Monday, 68-62, to advance into the team's second consecutive Patriot League Championship game. Five players scored in double-figures, as Navy led the Bison from start to finish. Taylor Dunham scored a team-high 18 points, followed by Hannah Fenske with 13 points and Laurel Jaunich, Kaila Clark and Bianca Roach with 10 each. Navy shot 28-for-67 (.418) from the floor, 4-for-10 (.400) from 3-point range and 8-for-10 (.800) from the free throw line against Bucknell.
Dunham leads the league from the perimeter, shooting 37.8 percent and averaging 3.0 triples per game. She is scoring a team-high 14.7 ppg while Clark leads the team on the boards with 8.3 rpg and Fenske averages a team-high 3.9 assists per game.
Navy has been a leading defensive power in the Patriot League throughout the season, holding its opponents to 53.8 ppg off 34.8 percent shooting from the field and 28.9 percent from the perimeter.
#AUWBB AT HOME
For the first time since the 1970s, the American University women's basketball team closed its regular-season home slate undefeated at 13-0. The Eagles' overall home win streak dates back to the 2016-17 season, though, and has now reached 19-0 with the latest win over Army West Point. That run ranks seventh in NCAA Division I behind UConn (78), Lamar University (28), Notre Dame (23), Green Bay (23), Baylor (20) and FGCU (19).
American was 13-2 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 over a year ago on 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.
American closed the regular season with a program-record 23 wins, topping the 22 victories from the 2011-12 season. With the wins over Lafayette and Army this week, the Eagles extended their overall record to 25-6 to surpass with the 2014-15 squad for the most overall wins in a single season.
This was only the latest in what was a record-breaking regular season for the Eagles after they broke another 2011-12 record with 17 consecutive wins. AU earned the program's best record at home at 13-0, making this the first season the team went undefeated at home during the regular season since the 1970s.
2014 vs. 2018
The last time the Eagles were the No. 1 seed in the Patriot League Tournament was during the historic 2014- 15 season that closed with the program's first Patriot League title and berth into the NCAA Tournament. Led by the 2015 Patriot League Player of the Year, senior Jen Dumiak, the top-seeded Eagles advanced through No. 8 Lafayette (51-49) and No. 5 Navy (60-53) before defeating No. 6 Lehigh in the championship game, 66-50.
#AUWBB IN THE PATRIOT LEAGUE TOURNAMENT
Head Coach Megan Gebbia is currently 8-3 in the Patriot League Tournament since she took the helm in 2013-14, including winning the program's first PL title in 2015. Since joining the Patriot League in 2001-02, American has built a 19-15 overall record, including the latest two wins against Lafayette and Army West Point.
The Eagles are 1-4 in the Tournament championship game and 1-0 when entering the league finale as the No. 1 seed.
American is 7-2 as the No. 1 seed since 2002. This is the fourth time the Eagles have entered the tournament at the top of the league rankings. They are 2-1 against the No. 3 seed, including one win against Navy in 2010 (72-47).
Ticket prices for the championship game, set by the Patriot League, are $14 for adults and $7 for seniors and youth. AU students will be admitted free with a valid AU ID. Rates for groups with 10+ are $4 per person. Tickets are on sale now via AUEagles.com/Tickets. The Bender Arena box office will open for walk-up sales at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday. Parking will be free in the Bender Arena garage on Sunday, and fans are encouraged to arrive early to the championship game with doors to the arena opening at 9:30 a.m.
For the latest on American University Women's Basketball, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_WBasketball.