March 6, 2008
WASHINGTON - The American University women's basketball team will vie for it's first-ever NCAA Tournament bid beginning on Saturday at the Patriot League Conference Tournament. The winner of the eight-team bracket will earn the league's automatic berth to "The Dance". The No. 1 seeded Eagles will take on the No. 8 seed Raiders of Colgate at 12:00 p.m. at Christl Arena on the Army campus. American was granted the top seed after winning it's first-ever Patriot League Regular Season Championship.
American (17-12, 11-3 PL) is currently in the midst of a 10-game win streak, including a program-best seven straight on the road. The Eagles can break the record for consecutive wins, held by the 1997-98 squad, with a win on Saturday over Colgate (1-28, 0-14). AU has been undefeated on the road versus conference opponents this season, only the third occurrence of such a feat since the league began.
The Eagles swept the season series against the Raiders, claiming an 88-58 win at Cotterell Court on Jan. 19 and then taking a 73-46 decision at Bender Arena on Feb. 16. In the first meeting, American was led by Liz Hayes' 20 points, while four other Eagles tallied in double-digits. Talicia Jackson led AU with 14 points in the latter contest.
Prior to the 10-game winning streak, American struggled with injuries and had a winless streak that stretched to seven games. The Eagles played with the mindset of a one-and-done the rest of the way and are prepared now for the tournament setting.
"Every game became one with our backs to the wall after losing seven straight," Eagles' Head Coach Melissa McFerrin said. "We suffered those losses, and especially the overtime loss to Bucknell, and were about to watch our opportunity to do something special slip away. We had a team here that wasn't ready to accept that."
The first two rounds of the tournament are held at Army's campus at West Point, N.Y., with the final being played at the highest remaining seed. Should the Eagles advance, they will play the winner of the Army/Bucknell matchup at 1 p.m. on Sunday. All PL Championship games can be viewed on EAGLES All*Access and through PL All*Access.