Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Women’s basketball extends losing streak to three in home opener against Hofstra

In an evening that paid respect to the recent past and gave a taste of the basketball program’s future, the Lady Eagles struggled to find their footing against Hofstra University, losing their third straight game 60-51.

Following the unveiling of the team’s 2014-15 Patriot League Championship banner in the rafters of Bender Arena, AU got off to what head coach Megan Gebbia called a “lackadaisical” start that gave Hofstra a 34-20 advantage going into the second half.

“We started the game a little slow, and you can’t do that against good teams,” Gebbia said. “We’re still in the process of trying to figure out who plays well together. We have a lot of inconsistency right now...this group is learning and growing everyday, and they are getter better. There’s just not that comfortability factor yet with a certain five.”

After cutting Hofstra’s lead to as little as four points in the third quarter, the Lady Eagles attempted to string together enough defensive stops and offensive plays to overcome the deficit. However, a series of unforced turnovers, mostly the result of offensive fouls, undermined the team’s efforts. A late push in the fourth quarter, spurred by a pair of three-pointers from freshman forward Cecily Carl and senior guard Ari Booth, proved too little, too late for AU to prevent extending its losing streak.

In the two previous games this year, a lack of consistent scoring hurt the team’s ability to compete against Princeton and No. 22 George Washington, both of which AU lost by 30 points or more. Gebbia said she saw last night’s game as an improvement in terms of scoring and credited Booth for her performance in leading the team in points.

“The positives going toward next game is that we scored 51 points,” Gebbia said. “I mean, we’ve been struggling - we’ve been in the thirties. It feels great to have AB [Ari Booth] back as somebody I know is very confident in herself.”

Booth’s season debut, after suffering a concussion earlier this year, marked a bright spot in the Lady Eagles’ scoring search, with the guard notching 15 points and going 3-7 from beyond the arc.

Booth serves as one of two returning seniors from last year, demonstrating the team’s youthfulness and subsequent inexperience. Gebbia said that although she appreciates increased production from freshmen like Carl and guard Elina Koskimies, she is cautious in how she plays underclassmen.

“The people that I’m subbing in off the bench are freshmen and sophomores, so it can be good or bad,” Gebbia said. “Like today, I thought Cecily played well. But you don’t know, from game to game, if freshmen are going to be able to step in and do what you ask.”

According to Gebbia, the team is focused on building up the confidence of younger players to take shots and do their jobs on the floor. Booth said she is prepared to do her part as one of the team’s sole veterans.

“I’m just taking the younger ones under my wing and teaching them everything I was taught coming up,” Booth said. “I try to be there for them on a personal level so that we have great chemistry on the court. They know they can come to me for whatever, and I embrace that.”

Gebbia said she hopes to build group chemistry and lead the team to its first victory when the Lady Eagles take on Elon on Sunday at 7 p.m in Bender Arena.

“We only have a day to get ready for [Elon] because we have to give a day off, and we’re giving them Friday,” Gebbia said. “Hopefully we shoot the ball a little bit better and we come out with the win.”

Never miss a story.

Get our weekly newsletter in your inbox.