The American University women's basketball team held off a second half rally by local rival George Washington, using a 17-7 run in the closing minutes to secure the 57-54 victory over the Colonials on Saturday afternoon in Bender Arena.
Jen Dumiak led American (4-4) with 14 points on 4-of-9 shooting from the field, adding four rebounds and five assists. Alexis Dobbs posted 13 points, going a perfect 8-for-8 from the foul line. Michelle Holmes led the team with a career-high nine rebounds, also matching her career-best with eight points.
"It was a good win, George Washington has a good squad and Jonathan [Tsipis] does a great job with them and that program is on the rise," said Head Coach Matt Corkery. "Any time you have a cross-town rival it's one that you circle on the calendar and you get excited about. I think our kids were excited for this, and for us just seeing our team build this confidence and playing at home has been pretty big."
Neither team was able to find their rhythm early in the game, going back and forth until Arron Zimmerman was able to complete a three-point play to give the Eagles an 11-7 lead with 10:41 remaining in the first half. Four straight points from Dumiak put American up 17-12 with 5:00 to play before the Colonials scored four consecutive points to make it a two-point game. The Eagles posted six straight points, capped off by a Abigail Fogg jumper inside the paint on a dish from Dumiak, but George Washington scored the final bucket of the half for the 25-19 score at the break.
American shot 29.0 percent from the floor and 20.0 percent from beyond the arc, holding the Colonials to 28.0 percent shooting, going 1-for-4 from three-point range. George Washington held a 22-19 advantage in rebounds at the break.
George Washington (4-4) used a 6-0 run to open the half, taking its first lead of the game since the 17:30 mark of the first half, as American called a timeout. Zimmerman ended the run out of the break, driving it to the basket after Sarah Kiely picked up back-to-back offensive rebounds to maintain possession. The Colonials took their largest lead of the game, 47-40, after a 10-2 run with 7:02 to play. But the Eagles responded with a 9-0 run of their own to regain the momentum, taking the lead after a dish from Dobbs to Geleisa George under the basket for the wide-open lay-up and 49-47 lead with 5:12 to play.
A lay-up from Anjaleace White tied it at 49 before Dumiak drilled in a three-pointer to put American up 53-51 with 1:15 to play. The Colonials called a timeout but turned it over on the next possession as Holmes knocked it away. Dobbs was fouled and sunk both free throws for the 55-51 lead with 15 seconds remaining. Megan Nipe made a fade-away triple to bring George Washington within one, but Dobbs went perfect from the charity stripe again as Danni Jackson's attempt to tie it in the final second fell short.
"I'm proud of the way our kids responded in the second half facing a little bit of adversity and our ability to make free throws and plays down the stretch was big," said Corkery.
Nipe led the Colonials with 14 points and seven rebounds with Jackson adding 10 points, going a perfect 4-for-4 from the foul line. George Washington outshot American, 40.7 percent to 32.7 percent, from the field and 40.0 percent to 30.0 percent from beyond the arc. American held the slight 36-35 advantage in rebounds for the game.
American opens a four-game road trip when it visits Maryland-Eastern Shore on Tuesday, December 18 at 6 p.m. The Eagles return home on Friday, January 4 at 1 p.m. when it takes on Fordham looking to remain perfect in Bender Arena.