WASHINGTON - A strong fourth quarter pulled the American University women's basketball team to a 60-45 win over Lafayette on Saturday as the Eagles extended their win streak to seven consecutive games during conference play.
The Eagles rise to 11-8 on the season, 7-1 in the Patriot League, while the Leopards fall to 7-12 overall and 2-6 in the league.
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Senior Cecily Carl emerged as one of the highlights for the day, as she added her name to yet another program all-time top ten list as the No. 10 point-scorer in program history. Carl led the team with 18 points to bring her total career tally to 1,185 and pass up Jody Thornton ('87), who held the No. 10 spot with 1,176 points. Carl already owns real estate in the career all-time top ten lists for rebounds (fifth), blocks (fourth), three-point field goals made (seventh), three-point field goal attempts (seventh), and games started (ninth).
- The game also marked the return of junior Kaitlyn Marenyi and senior Kaitlyn Lewis, who were both sidelined by injury since December 29 and January 16, respectively. Marenyi led the team with six assists alongside her seven points and three rebounds while Lewis pitched in five points, five rebounds, and a pair of assists.
- Sophomore Indeya Sanders was the only other Eagle to land in double-figures, scoring 12 points, nine of which came during the fourth quarter run to secure the win.
- Sanders and senior Elina Koskimies led the team on the boards with six rebounds each.
- The Eagles shot 41.7 percent from the field (20-48), 36.8 percent from three-point range (7-19), and 61.9 percent from the free throw line (13-21).
- The Leopards were led by the 12-point effort of Natalie Kucowski, who also brought down a team-high six rebounds alongside Alex Cantwell.
- Lafayette closed the game shooting 30.0 percent from the field (15-50), 20.0 percent from the perimeter (4-20), and 73.3 percent from the line (11-15).
- The Eagles seemed to find their old rhythm with both Marenyi and Lewis back in the starting lineup for the first time during the conference slate. Carl opened with a quick trey in the first possession followed by another from Marenyi for her first basket since before the New Year. Carl added another jumper before Lafayette was able to halt the run with a jumper from Nicole Johnson at the 5:37 mark.
- Both teams struggled to hit a basket in the final minutes of the quarter as a pair of back-to-back Lafayette three's cut the Eagles' lead down to two as the teams closed the stanza with a 10-8 score.
- AU rebuilt an 8-point lead in the opening minutes of the second after a 6-0 opening run with baskets from Carl, Marenyi, and Koskimies. But Lafayette was able to respond again, hitting a 6-0 run to land back within two with 5:24 left in the half.
- The Eagles picked up a pair of seven-point leads in the final two minutes behind treys from Sanders and freshman Laura Graytok, but the Leopards were able to bounce back from both and closed the half with a 7-0 run of their own to draw even at 26-26.
- Lafayette carried that momentum into the third quarter, opening with an 8-2 run to gain their largest lead of the game at 34-28. A layup from freshman Emily Fisher and a clutch trey from Koskimies closed the gap to one before freshman Jade Edwards tied the game from the free throw line at 34-34.
- The Leopards managed to regain a one-point lead heading into the final stanza, though, after a made free throw from Sydney Sabino.
- A pair of early baskets from Sanders gave the Eagles back their lead to open the fourth quarter before a Lafayette basket tied the game for the fifth and final time.
- The turning point of the game came at the 8:03 mark when Lewis was fouled on the layup and hit the free throw to spark a 13-1 run, picking up the largest lead of the game at 53-38 with 3:55 left.
- Lafayette managed to cut into that lead slightly, but the Eagles held on to that advantage and closed with the 60-45 win.
- American is now 20-0 at home against Patriot League opponents in a run that dates back to the 2016-17 season.
- AU held the advantage on the boards, 34-32, against one of the top rebounding teams in the league, and converted Lafayette's 20 turnovers to 23 points while the Leopards picked up only two points off American's 17 turnovers. The Eagles also led in the paint, 20-12.
The Eagles will be back at home on Wednesday, Jan. 30, with a 7 p.m. tip against Holy Cross before hitting the road for a three-game stretch against Colgate (Feb. 1), Army (Feb. 9) and Loyola Maryland (Feb. 13).
For the latest on American University Women's Basketball, stay tuned to AUEagles.com and follow the team on Twitter @AU_WBasketball.