Feb. 21, 2006
WASHINGTON - American's seniors got a win in their last game at Bender, but it was the freshmen class that came up big in the Eagles 89-81 overtime victory against Navy on Tuesday night.
The Eagles took the lead early in the overtime and never looked back as three freshmen recorded career-highs in AU's win.
Overtime started on an AU high note with Sahar Nusseibeh (Uniontown, Ohio/North Canton Hoover) converting a three-point play after being fouled on a successful layup. The two teams went up and down the floor with each team trading points until the score rested at 73-73. Six straight Eagle points including a three from Nicole Ryan (Safety Harbor, Fla./Clearwater) to take a 79-73 edge with 1:18 left in overtime.
The Mids would not be discouraged, closing to 80-78 with 1:00 showing on the game clock. A pair of successful Talicia Jackson (Minneapolis, Minn./De La Salle) free throws but the Eagles back up by four, a margin that Navy would never overcome.
With 16.8 seconds to play in regulation and AU with the ball, American head coach Melissa McFerrin called a timeout to draw up one final play. American inbounded the ball, lost possession and tried to draw a foul on a shot in traffic but a jump ball was called instead, giving Navy possession with two seconds remaining in regulation. Navy threw a pass that was intercepted and the Eagles tried to throw up a last-second shot that missed its mark.
The Mids opened up the second half on a 7-2 run to expand their two-point halftime lead. American clawed its way back, as it had all contest, to tie the game at 47-47 with 12:50 left in the game. American took its first lead of the game, 55-52, at the 8:29 mark when Jackson hit a three pointer on the fly.
Navy tied the game up with six and a half minutes to play and took the lead briefly before Jackson hit her second three of the game to give AU a 61-58 lead. The Mids tied the game on their next possession on a Carly Meyer three but AU bounced back with an Abby Lipskis (Norfolk, Va./Norfolk Collegiate) jumper.
The Eagles opened their lead to four with under two minutes to play but the Mids were able to get a layup to make it a two point game. American threw up a three ball that missed its mark and Navy tied the game on their next possession. The two teams traded buckets with under a minute to play. Neither team could get it done with the time remaining, as off to overtime the teams headed.
Navy came out of the gate shooting a trio of successful three pointers in the first four minutes to give themselves a 14-5 edge. AU mounted a 8-2 run over the next three minutes, closing the gap to 16-13. The Mids answered back with an 8-0 run of their own, with Ashley Pelzak scoring her ninth point of the half. After Navy went up by 11, AU's Tish Curry (Pennsauken, N.J./Woodrow Wilson) was fouled on a successful layup and hit the ensuing free throw to close to within eight. The two teams traded three-pointers before AU launched a furious attack to slice the Navy lead to 29-27 with 4:55 remaining in the first frame. With the first 20 minutes of play expired, AU found itself back just three, 38-35.
Curry finished with a career-high 21 points, 13 of which came in the first half. Curry also ting under the boards with 18 rebounds, the first time an Eagle player has done that since Becky Greenfield on Jan. 5, 1996. Nusseibeh also gave a solid effort with 24 points, setting a new career-high and grabbing five rebounds on the night. Jackson finished with a career-high 15 points and point guard Pam Stanfield (College Park, Md./Riverdale Baptist) added 12 points. Standfield's 11 assists ties her for the second most in program history, while giving the rookie her first career double-double.
Navy's Carly Meyer led all scorers with 32 points, with Kate Hobbs scoring 15 and Betsy Burnett adding 11.
AU honored seniors Tala Hadavi (Uppsala, Sweden/Vasalundsskolan) and Alicia Zorzetto (Niagara Falls, Ontario/A.N. Meyer), playing in their last game at Bender Arena. The win marked the first time in McFerrin's career that she has defeated Navy.
American is now 3-0 in overtime this season, boosting their record to 7-19 overall and 4-9 in the Patriot League. Navy falls to 13-13 overall, 6-7 in league play. AU's 89 points is the most points scored in a single season since the 2001-02 season.
American wraps up the regular season on Saturday, Feb. 25, when they travel to Lafayette, to take on the Leopards at 4 p.m.