Feb. 13, 2007
WASHINGTON - The American University women's basketball team broke a five-team logjam for third place in the Patriot League standings and earned a hard-fought upset of the PL's second-place team with a 58-54 win over Army Tuesday night in Bender Arena.
All season, the Eagles have been the unfortunate victim of slow starts. In fact, 11 times this season AU has been down by at least eight points at halftime, and in each of those games American ended the game with a loss. However, Tuesday night versus Army, the Eagles did not allow the Black Knights to score for the final 10 minutes of the first half while scoring 18 points of their own, building up a 30-17 halftime lead.
"We made it difficult for their best scorers to get shots," AU Head Coach Melissa McFerrin said. "We forced tough shots and made their non-shooters shoot."
They would need nearly every one of those 18 points as the Black Knights mounted a second-half comeback. AU held a 13-point advantage with 8:37 remaining in the game, but Army got two three-pointers from Jen Hansen to key an 8-0 run to whittle the Eagles' lead down to five. Neither team scored for more than four minutes, but Army got the next bucket to make it a three-point game. After a pair of free throws from Nicole Ryan pushed the lead back to five, Army's Stefanie Stone hit a layup while being fouled and completed the three-point play and pull within two points with just 32 seconds left.
With just four team fouls, Army could not foul to stop the clock and put the Eagles on the line. Instead, AU ran off nearly 24 seconds before center Abby Lipskis hit a wide-open layup with eight ticks remaining to extend the lead to four. Several last second attempts by the Black Knights missed their marks.
Three Eagles tallied double-digits, led by Lipskis' 16 points and eight rebounds. Forward Sahar Nusseibeh had 12 points, five boards and two blocks in 23 minutes.
"We've been looking for contributions from our post players all season," McFerrin said. "We did a great job of getting Abby the ball in good positions."
With the win, American snaps its four-game Patriot League losing streak. American had been tied for third place with Colgate, Holy Cross, Navy and Lafayette. The Eagles are now 10-16 overall, 5-6 in the Patriot League.
The Black Knights, who are in second place in the PL, move to 21-5 overall and 8-3 in the league. Alex McGuire scored 22 points along with five assists.
American returns to action on Saturday, Feb. 17, at Holy Cross. Game time is set for 1 p.m.