March 4, 2007
ANNAPOLIS, Md. - American University women's basketball opened the second half on a 14-2 run to cruise past Colgate 68-45 on Sunday afternoon in Alumni Hall. With the win, AU advances to the Patriot League Championship for the second time in its five years in the conference.
After battling with back and forth baskets throughout the opening 20 minutes, the two squads finished the first locked at 25. American University came out of the lockerroom ready to take over, with Nicole Ryan (Clearwater, Fla./Clearwater) opening the scoring gates with back to back to treys. American extended its run to 14 in a five minute span, with Stephanie N'Garsanet (Adibjan, Ivory Coast/Voltaire) stepping up underneath for two lay-ups and Talicia Jackson (Minneapolis, Minn./DeLaSalle) nailing a bucket from downtown. When Carly Brescacin finally ending the Colgate drought, American University had already made a 13-point dent leading 41-28 with 12:41 left on the clock. Ryan finished with a team-high 15 points, while N'Garsanet chipped in 11 of her own.
Tenacious in-the-face defending from American held the Raiders to just 20 second-half points. American forced Colgate to commit 19 turnovers, with Ryan tallying three steals and the Eagles combining for 20 points off of the Raider's mistakes. With just over four minutes remaining, Ryan tallied her third steal of the day and used quick transition to find Liz Hayes (Easton, Pa./Easton) open in three-point land. Hayes set her feet and sealed the win, giving American its largest lead of the day, 60-41. Hayes finished with 11 points in the win.
Caitlin Gillard was the only Raider to tally double-digits, leading her squad with 15 points. Pam Stanfield (College Park, Md./Riverdale Baptist) and Ryan continued to stun Colgate's offense with their strong on-the-ball defending and kept its other leading scorers to seven points and below. Stanfield hit a three-pointer as the ticks winded down, being the fourth and final Eagle to score in double-digits with 10 points. As a team, American shot 36.8 percent from three-point territory, with the Raiders barely shooting 10 percent.
The is the second time American University women's basketball will advance to the Patriot League Championship since joining the league in 2001-02. For the 2006-07 squad and Head Coach Melissa McFerrin, it is their first run at the title. With the 68-45 win over Colgate, McFerrin has topped her career-high of 12 wins, with a 13-18 record.
Going into the conference championship, which will be played on Wednesday night at 6 p.m., American is on a three-game win streak, its largest of the season. The Eagles will face either Lehigh or Holy Cross for the title and if the Mountain Hawks come out on top of Cross, AU will play host to the Patriot League Championship for the first time in school history.