Eagles Head to Worcester for Start of PL Tournament

Eagles Head to Worcester for Start of PL Tournament

March 1, 2006

American University's women's basketball team will face second-seeded host school Holy Cross on Thursday night at the Hart Center.
Matchup: American (7-19, 4-9 PL)
at Holy Cross (14-13, 10-4 PL)
Tip: 8 p.m.
Site: Hart Center
Series: HC leads, 10-1

Notes on the matchup:
AU at Holy Cross Notes - First Round of Patriot League Tournament

Inside the Series: Holy Cross owns a 10-1 record overall against the Eagles, winning both of their meetings in the regular season. AU last toppled the Crusaders on 2/20/04 at Bender Arena by a score of 81-65. Holy Cross is 5-0 all-time at home against AU.

The Coaching Matchup: American is headed up by Melissa McFerrin, who is in her second season with the Eagles. McFerrin's squad owns a 7-20 record, 4-10 in the Patriot League after losing to Lafayette on the road in the final regular season game of the year. Bill Gibbons is in his 21st season at the helm of the Crusaders. Gibbons is one of the most accomplished coaches in the Patriot League, amassing a 427-196 record while in Worcester.

The Story: American enters into today's contest with a 7-20 overall record and a 4-10 conference mark, earning the squad the seventh seed in the 2006 Patriot League Tournament. The Eagles are coming off a disappointing 73-66 loss at Lafayette last Saturday. The loss marked just the second time in school history that American was topped by the Leopards, which could be a good sign considering that AU has only beaten Holy Cross one other time. American, going with a lineup almost entirely made of rookies, has had trouble scoring this season, shooting just 38 percent, lowest in the Patriot League. Second Team All-Patriot League selection Tala Hadavi leads the Eagles in scoring, with 14.2 ppg. Junior Tara Williams is second on the team with 9.3 ppg and PL All-Rookie Team member Sahar Nussiebeh scoring 8.9 ppg. Tish Curry is first in rpg, with 7.3. American is 2-11 on the road this season, including 2-5 in conference play.

Scouting Holy Cross: The Crusaders enter into the Patriot League tournament with a 14-13 overall record and a 10-4 conference mark, earning them the second seed behind Army. Holy Cross is the conference's most successful team, with Bill Gibbons leading the squad to 11 overall NCAA Tournament bids, including 10 in the last 15 years. The Crusaders have won four out of their last five games, including a 74-55 drubbing of American at Bender on Feb. 18. In that game, First Team All-Patriot League member Kaitlin Foley scored 22 points on 10-of-13 shooting while grabbing seven rebounds. Holy Cross shot 53 percent in that game, 12 percent higher than their conference average. Foley leads Holy Cross in scoring with 15.0 ppg and is second on the team on the glass with 6.0 rpg. Second Team All-PL selection Brittany Keil leads the team in rebounds with 6.2 rpg. Holy Cross has a 7-4 record at the Hart Center this season, including a 6-1 league mark.

Two Garner All-League Awards... AU senior Tala Hadavi and freshman Sahar Nusseibeh were named to the Second Team All-Patriot League and the Patriot League All-Rookie team, respectively, league officials announced Tuesday. Hadavi was one of the Patriot League's most dangerous scoring threats this season, averaging 14.1 points per game overall and 16.2 points per game in league action, good enough for third among all conference players. Nusseibeh was named to the All-Rookie team after leading the team in field goal percentage .500, which also ranks her fifth among all players in the conference. The freshman forward scored in double digits in 10 out of 14 conference games this season, averaging 12.0 points per game. Nusseibeh finished the regular season with three double-doubles.

Curry Earns Second ROW Honor... AU freshman Tish Curry earned her second PL Rookie of the Week honor on Monday, after putting up a career day against Navy a week ago Tuesday. The 6-0 forward put up career highs in points (21), rebounds (18) and tied a career high in assists with four. Curry also earned ROW in Dec.

AU vs The Patriot League... American owns an 63-43 record all-time against the Patriot League and a 40-36 record in their five seasons of league play. AU finished 4-10 this season, losing to Lafayette last Saturday.

Eagle Snap Shots:
• PL Tournament History: American is 3-4 all-time in the PL Tournament, winning their opening round games in 2003 and 2004, when they advanced to the Patriot League Championship game.
• Breaking Bad Habits: AU will have to break some tendencies to win against the Crusaders on Thursday. AU is 1-10 all-time against HC, 0-5 at the Hart Center and 0-3 in games that fall on Thursday.
• An AU Win Would: Give Melissa McFerrin her first PL Tournament victory ... give Melissa McFerrin her first win over Holy Cross ... give AU a first round PL tournament win for the third time in program history.