WASHINGTON - The American University women's basketball team ran away with a decisive 55-35 victory over Lafayette during Monday's Patriot League quarterfinal game, as the Eagles secured their spot in the semifinal round on Thursday.
The No. 8 Leopards close their season at 11-19 overall while the No. 1 Eagles tie the program record for overall wins at 24-6. American will return to Bender Arena on Thursday, March 8, to host No. 5 Army West Point at 7 p.m. in the semifinal round. This is the second consecutive year that the Eagles advanced to the Patriot League semifinal and the 11th in program history.
Although senior Emily Kinneston paced AU with 20 points and seven assists, it was junior Cecily Carl who came away with one of the big highlights of the evening after she became only the fifth player in program history to crack 100 blocks and 500 rebounds. Carl reached her 500th rebound during the last win over Lafayette on Feb. 17 and clinched her 100th block on Monday during the third quarter. By the end of the game, she added one more to bring her career total up to 101.
Carl also walked away with her seventh double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 rebounds, tying her with Jen Dumiak (2014-15) for the most single-season double-doubles since 2001.
Kinneston and Carl were two of the four Eagles selected for Patriot League honors last week. Kinneston became the fourth player in AU history to be voted as Patriot League Player of the Year while head coach Megan Gebbia earned her second Patriot League Coach of the Year honor. Kinneston was also selected for the All-Patriot League First Team while Carl was voted to the second team and senior Maria Liddane earned a spot on both the third team and all-defensive team.
The Eagles shot 18 of 57 from the field (.316) and 5 of 23 from the perimeter (.217) while bringing down 41 rebounds to Lafayette's 45. The team had one of its best games of the season with only nine turnovers while forcing 20 from the Leopards.
Lafayette struggled with shooting from the start and closed with only 12-for-57 from the field (.211) and 3-for-12 from three-point range (.250). Freshman Natalie Kucowski led the team with seven points and a game-high 14 rebounds.
American dominated the first 10 minutes of play, holding Lafayette to only three points from the free throw line while shooting 8-for-15 from the field (.533) to close the first quarter with a 22-3 lead. Carl led the team with eight points in the first stanza, shooting 2-for-2 from the perimeter. Supporting that strong offensive effort was a series of key defensive plays, as the Eagles forced seven turnovers from Lafayette in the first 10 minutes.
Lafayette opened the scoring in the second quarter with its first field goal of the game and held AU to only six points in the stanza to cut the deficit down to 15 points at 28-13 by halftime.
The Eagles were back in control in the third quarter, hitting an 8-0 run to build their largest lead of the game at 43-19 behind seven points from Kinneston. The Leopards fought back in the fourth quarter, though, holding AU to only 11 points for one of its lowest outputs of the season in the final 10 minutes.
The Eagles will return to Bender Arena for the Patriot League Tournament semifinal round on Thursday, March 8, where they will face No. 5 Army West Point.
Ticket prices for the semifinal game, set by the Patriot League, are $12 for adults and $6 for seniors and youth. AU students are admitted free with an AU ID. Rates for groups with 10+ are $4 per person. Tickets are now on sale via AUEagles.com/Tickets. Fans can also visit the Athletics Ticket Office in person, or call (202) 885-TIXX (8499) Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
For the latest on American University Women's Basketball, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_WBasketball.