Jan. 20, 2007
WASHINGTON - American University Women's Basketball overcame a 13-point deficit in the second-half to defeat Holy Cross 59-55 on Saturday afternoon at Bender Arena. With the win, AU improves to 8-12 overall and 3-2 in the conference.
After several lead changes in the first half, Holy Cross went into the locker rooms with a two-point advantage, leading 30-28. The Crusaders entered the second determined to stay on top, going on a 15-4 run in the opening minutes. The thirteen-point gap would prove to be the largest of the day, with Nicole Ryan (Safety Harbor, Fla./Clearwater) keeping the Eagles within range hitting key threes throughout the afternoon. Ryan started the vital 18-3 run for the Eagles, leading the squad to a comeback.
With 10:14 remaining in the final 20, Pam Stanfield (College Park, Md./Riverdale Baptist) went to the charity stripe for the Eagles' first visit to the line, netting 2-2. Just seconds later, Stanfield was dangerous on the opposite end of the court, registering one of her five steals on the day. With quick transition, Stanfield found Anna Baran (Rzeszow, Poland/SMS PZKosz Warsaw) open for the fast break, bringing the Eagles within one with 9:43 remaining. Stanfield posted a career-high eight rebounds and six assists in the win. Baran finished with a career-high 12 points.
With 5:37 left in the game, Ryan was at it again, hitting her third three of the day to give American University its first lead of the second half. Holy Cross's Bethany O'Dell answered with her own bucket from downtown to gain control back for the Crusaders.
With one-point between the two teams for the remaining minutes, Liz Hayes (Easton, Pa./Easton) was sent to the foul line for the Eagles. Sinking both shots with 1:32 left, AU held a two-point advantage. As much of the second half went, Crusader Brittany Keil locks the game at 55 with one minute remaining.
With Ryan on fire, the Eagles looked to her for the jumper and with 36 seconds on the clock, the sophomore guard gave the hosts their final lead of the game, with the Eagles going on to win by four.
This is just the second win for the Eagles in the all-time series against Holy Cross. American's last win against the familiar foe came in the 2003-04 season, when AU advanced to the Patriot League Championship.
American held the advantage in every aspect of the game, outrebounding the Crusaders 39-36, with Stanfield and Maggie Smith-Davidson (Ontario, Ore./Ontario) combining for 16 of those boards. The Red, Blue and White also forced 16 turnovers and registered 11 steals in the victory.
American University returns to action on Wednesday night when it hosts Navy at 5:30 p.m. The men's game will follow, scheduled to start at 8 p.m.