Top-Seed @AU_WBasketball Set to Host No. 8 Lafayette in PL Quarterfinal

Head Coach Megan Gebbia speaks to the players during a timeout

Game 30 ·  #1 American (23-6, 16-2 PL) vs. #8 Lafayette (11-18, 6-12 PL)
Monday, March 5, 2018  ·  7 p.m. ET  ·  Washington, D.C. (Bender Arena)
All-Time Record: 
American leads, 38-7
Patriot League Network on Watch Stadium
How to Watch (Channel Listings)

Game Notes:  American | Lafayette

WASHINGTON - The American University women's basketball team will look to continue its record-breaking year into the postseason, as the top-seeded Eagles host No. 8 Lafayette in the Patriot League Tournament quarterfinal round at 7 p.m. on Monday.

American enters the tournament off a pair of back-to-back losses against Bucknell and Navy. This was only the second time this season that the Eagles fell in consecutive games after they closed with the most regular-season wins in program history at 23-6 overall (16-2 PL). Lafayette (11-18, 6-12 PL) advanced through Boston University during the first round of the tournament, beating the Terriers at home on Saturday, 66-61.

The Eagles lead the 45-game series against Lafayette, 38-7, after opening with a 62-53 victory in Washington on Jan. 19, 1982. AU went on an 11-0 run before the Leopards earned their first win, 64-61, in 2004. AU has only lost to Lafayette once in Bender Arena throughout the two teams' 35-year history - Jan. 20, 2016 with a final score of 60-51.

American swept the Leopards during the regular season, starting with the 74-67 victory in Easton, Pa., on Jan. 20, followed by the 74-66 win during senior day in Bender Arena on Feb. 17.

The two teams have met in five Patriot League quarterfinal games since 2009. The Eagles are 4-1 against the Leopards in the postseason with the only loss coming out of the 2009 tournament when Lafayette knocked AU out of the quarterfinal round, 58-56. The last time AU met the Leopards in the postseason was 2015 when the Eagles advanced on to the semifinal round with a 79-56 victory in Washington, D.C.

Head Coach Megan Gebbia is currently 10-2 against Lafayette.

AU fell in its sixth game of the season on Saturday with a 76-49 loss at Navy. The Eagles were led by an 11-point effort from senior Maria Liddane, followed by 10 points from juniors Kaitlyn Lewis and Elina Koskimies.

Senior Emily Kinneston, the 2018 Patriot League Player of the Year, leads the team's overall scoring efforts with 15.3 ppg and ranks third in the league. Junior Cecily Carl, who was selected to the Second-Team All-Patriot League, leads the team on the boards with 7.9 rpg while also ranking second on the team with 12.8 ppg.

Despite the losses to Navy and Bucknell, American still ranks second in the league in scoring (65.0 ppg) and third for both scoring defense (58.8 ppg) and scoring margin (+6.3). The Eagles are second in the league with their 41.0 percent shooting from the floor and have held their opponents to 36.1 percent from the field and 30.0 percent from the perimeter.

Strong perimeter shooting pulled Lafayette to a 66-61 victory over Boston University on Saturday, starting with the career-high from sophomore Sarah Agnello who hit 24 points after shooting 6-for-8 from 3-point range and 8-for-12 from the field. The Leopards closed with a new program record after hitting 12-for-13 from long-range (.522).

Olivia Martino added another 17 points to the Leopards' final score while Alexis Santarelli closed with 11 points and a team-high six boards alongside Tasha Vipond.

Freshman Natalie Kucowski, selected for the Patriot League All-Rookie team, continues to work as one of the league's top rebounders, averaging 10.2 per game and 9.4 in PL play. She also averages 1.5 blocks per game, 1.6 in the PL schedule, and leads the team with 11.1 ppg.

Lafayette leads the Patriot League with its 34.9 percent shooting from 3-point range. The team averages 55.9 ppg to its opponents' 60.9 ppg, and has shot 38.2 percent from the field. 

American is 10-6 in the Patriot League quarterfinal round since the Eagles joined the league in 2001-02.

The Eagles are 5-2 in the tournament as the No. 1 seed. They lost in the semifinal round in both 2008 and 2012 as the top seed before running the table in 2015 to earn the program's first berth in the NCAA Tournament.

American is undefeated at 4-0 in games against No. 8 seeds.

The last time AU met Lafayette in the quarterfinal round was also the last time the Eagles entered the tournament as the No. 1 seed - 2015. The Eagles beat No. 8 Lafayette, 79-56, to advance to the semifinal round and eventually win the program's first title and earn a berth into the NCAA Tournament.

Four Eagles were selected for Patriot League awards last week, including head coach Megan Gebbia and senior Emily Kinneston, who were both chosen for two of the four major awards. 

Gebbia earned her second Patriot League Coach of the Year selection, while Kinneston was voted for her first Player of the Year nod. Kinneston, who didn't make the Preseason All-League Team, also made her first appearance on the Patriot League First Team.

Senior Maria Liddane also made her first appearance on the All-League release after being selected for both the Third Team and All-Defensive Team. 

Junior Cecily Carl earned her third career all-league nod, making the Second Team for the first time. She was a Third Team selection in 2017 and made the All-Rookie Team in 2016.

For the first time since the 1970s, the AU women's basketball team closed its regular-season home slate undefeated at 13-0.

The Eagles' overall home win streak dates back to the 2016-17 season and reached 17-0 with the latest win over Holy Cross. That run ranks ninth in NCAA Division I behind UConn (78), Lamar University (28), Notre Dame (23), Green Bay (23), Baylor (20), Mississippi State (18), FGCU (18), and Elon (18).

American was 13-2 in Bender Arena in 2017 with losses only to Army West Point and Holy Cross in January. The last AU loss in Bender Arena was over a year ago on February 11, 2017, against Army (68-57). The Eagles' last non-conference loss at home was against William & Mary, 48-34, on December 3, 2016.

American closed the regular season with a program-record 23 wins, topping the 22 victories from the 2011-12 season. 

This was only the latest in what was a record-breaking regular season for the Eagles after they broke another 2011-12 record with 17 consecutive wins. The team is now one win away from tying the 2014-15 squad's total 24 victories.

The Eagles came in at No. 15 on the latest Mid-Major Top 25.

American broke into the mid-major rankings for the first time on Jan. 2, landing at No. 25 in the national poll after the win over Colgate. The Eagles previously sat at No. 18 (1/9), No. 15 (1/16), No. 13 (1/23), and No. 11 (2/13).

Navy is the only other PL school to hold a spot on the list at No. 23.

American was among the top-10 teams in the NCAA with its 17-game win streak before its loss to Bucknell. The Eagles were seventh in NCAA Division I for the 17-0 run that started on Dec. 20 with the overtime upset over Penn State, 75-66. 

They were also seventh in the country for the 16-0 conference run and ninth for its 7-0 run on the road.

American ranks 28th in the NCAA for its .793 win percentage, 57th in RPI.

Cecily Carl
is well on her way to becoming the fifth player in program history to break 500 rebounds and 100 blocks - she already cracked the 500-rebound barrier during the Jan. 17 win over Lafayette and currently sits with 99 blocks heading into the first game of the postseason.

She is also on pace to break 1,000 points in the first half of next season, which would put her in the company of only Liz Leer (2007-11) and Kirsten Keller (1991-95) to have broken milestones in all three categories (scoring, rebounding, blocks).

The winner of the No. 1 American vs. No. 8 Lafayette game will face either No. 4 Lehigh or No. 5 Army West Point during the semifinal round on Thursday, March 8. The game will be hosted by the highest seed.

On the other side of the bracket is No. 6 Loyola (Md.) at No. 3 Navy, and No. 7 Holy Cross at No. 2 Bucknell.

The Patriot League Championship, hosted by the highest remaining seed, will be at 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 11.

Ticket prices for the quarterfinal game, set by the Patriot League, are $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and youth. AU students are admitted free with an AU ID. Rates for groups with 10+ are $3 per person.

Tickets are now on sale via 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 and follow the team on Twitter @AU_WBasketball.