BURLINGTON, Vt. - The American University women's basketball team opened its two-game weekend at the TD Bank Classic with a final-second win over host Vermont, 64-62.
The Eagles are now 3-2 overall this season as they head into the second and final game of the tournament, while the Catamounts fall to 3-3 overall. AU will face Villanova, who beat James Madison, 60-57, at 7 p.m. on Saturday.
Although junior Cecily Carl led the team with her first double-double of the season, scoring a team-high 21 points and bringing down 10 rebounds, it was senior Emily Kinneston who came away with the game-winner. A native of nearby Shelburne, Vt., Kinneston recorded 16 points in front of a home-state crowd, including the final second basket that secured the game for the Eagles.
Junior Kaitlyn Lewis was the only other AU player to score in the double-figures with 13 points, while sophomore Katie Marenyi contributed a team-high four steals and junior Elina Koskimies added a career-high three blocks.
The Catamounts also had three players score in the double-figures, starting with Cassidy Derda who had 17 points and 12 assists for the double-double. Hannah Crymble added another 15 points while Sydney Smith put up another double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Vermont took the lead early on after hitting an early three to start the game. The Eagles kept pace with the Catamounts throughout the first 10 minutes behind Kinneston's six-point effort throughout the first quarter. A series of late steals from Marenyi and Lewis helped send AU on a 5-0 run to close the quarter at a one-point deficit, 14-13.
The Eagles gained their first lead of the game after a pair of early threes from Lewis brought the score up to 19-16.
A scoring drought put the Eagles back on their heels, though, as Vermont went on a 6-0 run midway through the quarter to regain a five-point lead. By the end of the half, the Catamounts had built up their largest lead yet in the game at 36-29.
Vermont continued to build its lead early in the third quarter, gapping the Eagles by 10 points on a couple occasions before a pair of baskets from Carl brought the lead back down into single-digits. AU landed back within two of the Catamounts after an 8-0 run brought them to 48-46 by the end of the quarter.
The Eagles fought hard during the fourth quarter behind the nine-point effort from Carl and another seven from Kinneston. A steal from Kinneston set Carl up for her fourth three of the game, putting AU up by one with just over two minutes left in the game.
From there, it was a defensive battle for the Eagles as a big block from Koskimies and Marenyi's fourth steal of the game kept the Catamounts at bay. A pair of free throws from Kinneston with six seconds left on the clock seemed to secure the game for the Eagles, who led by three at 62-59. But a big three from Vermont's Derda tied the game back up at 62-62 with only three seconds left on the clock.
Those three seconds were plenty for Kinneston, though, as she took the inbound down the baseline for the winning layup to close the game at 64-62.
For the second consecutive game, the Eagles trailed on the boards, bringing down 27 rebounds to Vermont's 50. This is the second consecutive game that AU has been gapped by over 20 rebounds after they were outdone by George Mason on Monday, 50-23.
The Eagles will be back in Patrick Gymnasium at 7 p.m. on Saturday to face undefeated Villanova (4-0). For the latest on AU Women's Basketball, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_WBasketball.