Top-Seed @AU_WBasketball Hosts No. 5 Army West Point in PL Semifinal

Team huddle after Patriot League quarterfinal win over Lafayette (3/5/2018)

Game 31 ·  #1 American (24-6, 16-2 PL) vs. #5 Army West Point (17-13, 9-9 PL)
Thursday, March 8, 2018  ·  7 p.m. ET  ·  Washington, D.C. (Bender Arena)
All-Time Record: 
American leads, 20-18
Patriot League Network on Watch Stadium

Game Notes:  American | Army West Point

WASHINGTON - The top-seeded American University women's basketball team continues its historic season on Thursday as the Eagles host No. 5 Army West Point in the Patriot League semifinal round in Bender Arena at 7 p.m.

AU tied its program-record for most single-season wins on Monday after a decisive 55-35 quarterfinal victory over Lafayette, extending its overall record to 24-6 (16-2 PL). The Black Knights clinched the overtime victory over Lehigh, 62-60, on Monday to bring their record up to 17-13 for the season (9-6 PL).

American pulled ahead of Army by two games this year and now leads the 38-game series, 20-18, after sweeping the Black Knights during the regular season. Included in those wins was the first AU victory in West Point since Jan. 21, 2012, after the Eagles registered the 64-46 win on Jan. 8.

The two teams first met in 1996 on New Years Eve when the Eagles walked away with a 79-39 victory at Army. This will be only the third meeting between and AU and Army in the Patriot League Tournament. Army leads the two-game series after a 78-65 win during the 2003 semifinal, and the 68-55 win during the 2014 semifinal.

Head Coach Megan Gebbia is 3-8 against the Black Knights since she arrived at AU in 2013-14. Before this season, her only win against the Black Knights was on Feb. 21, 2015, in Bender Arena, 45-42.

A dominant first quarter pulled AU to a 20-point victory over Lafayette during Monday's quarterfinal round. American held the Leopards to only three points in the first quarter, all from the free throw line, as a solid AU defensive effort held Lafayette to 0-for-14 from the field while strong shooting pulled the Eagles to an early 22-3 lead. Senior Emily Kinneston led the team with a game-high 20 points while junior Cecily Carl walked away with her seventh double-double of the season (12 points, 11 rebounds) to tie with Jen Dumiak (2014-15) for the most single-season double-doubles since 2001.

Carl also highlighted the day with a pair of blocks including the 100th of her career to make her the fifth player in program history to earn over 100 blocks and 500 rebounds.

Kinneston continues to lead the team's overall scoring efforts with 15.5 ppg while Carl averages a team-high 8.0 rpg. Kinneston ranks third in the Patriot League for scoring and leads with 4.3 assists per game, making her the only player in the Patriot League to lead her team in both categories.

The Eagles are second in the PL for scoring, averaging 64.7 ppg, field goal percentage (.407), assists per game (14.53), and turnover margin (+3.83).

Army West Point earned its first overtime victory of the season to advance past Lehigh, 62-60, in the PL quarterfinal. Madison Hovren led the team with her 18th double-double of the season (17 points, 12 rebounds). She leads the team with 14.7 ppg and 9.8 rpg, sitting just under the double-double season average. She is shooting 45.7 percent from the field and 70.8 percent from the free throw line.

Aliyah Murray follows with 7.3 rpg and 10.3 ppg on 47.7 percent shooting from the field. Libby Tacka leads from the perimeter, hitting 34 of her 88 attempts from 3-point range for 38.6 percent shooting.

The Black Knights closed the regular season with a 75-55 loss against Bucknell, breaking their second-longest win streak of the season after four-straight victories.  They rank second in the league in rebounding, averaging a +4.9 margin with 39.4 rpg behind the efforts of Hovren and Murray, who both rank in the league's top-10. 

Army sixth in the PL for scoring, averaging 61.3 ppg, but fourth in scoring defense after allowing its opponents an average of 58.9 ppg. The Black Knights also boast the No. 2 perimeter defense in the league, holding opponents to 29.6 percent from 3-point range.

American is 5-5 in Patriot League semifinal games and 3-4 against the No. 5 seed since joining the league in 2001-02. The last time the Eagles won in the semifinal round was in 2015 against No. 5 Navy, 60-53. The team went on to win the league title that season, beating No. 6 Lehigh, 66-50.

The Eagles are now 6-2 in the tournament as the No. 1 seed after the win on Monday. They lost in the semifinal round in both 2008 and 2012, but returned to run the table in 2015, earning the program's first berth in the NCAA Tournament.

The Black Knights lead the two-game postseason series against the Eagles, 2-0. The last time AU met Army in the tournament was during the 2014 semifinal game when the No. 2 Black Knights won against the No. 3 Eagles, 68-55. Before 2014, the only other time the two teams battled in the tournament was in the 2003 semifinal round when No. 6 Army advanced through No. 2 American, 78-65.

For the first time since the 1970s, the American University 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, though, and has now reached 18-0 with the latest win over Lafayette.

That run ranks eighth 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.

Four Eagles were selected for Patriot League awards, including head coach Megan Gebbia and senior Emily Kinneston, who earned three of the league's five major awards. 

Gebbia earned her second Patriot League Coach of the Year selection, while Kinneston was voted for her first Player of the Year and Scholar-Athlete of the Year nods. Kinneston, who was also selected for the Patriot League First Team, is only the fifth player in Patriot League history to earn both the Player of the Year and Scholar-Athlete of the Year in a single season. The last player to achieve this feat was AU alumna Jen Dumiak in 2014-15. Her Scholar-Athlete of the Year honor also marks the program's sixth in the last seven years and eighth in the last 12 years.

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.

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 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.