Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Thursday, June 22, 2017

Women’s basketball storms past Terriers 79-33 on Play4Kay night

Senior Ari Booth scores a career-high 22 points to lead AU to its sixth conference win during the Bender Pink-Out.

Women’s basketball storms past Terriers 79-33 on Play4Kay night

When Ari Booth took the court on Wednesday night as the only senior in AU’s starting line-up, she faced the expectation of leading her team to a victory and snapping a two-game losing streak. With confidence and precision, Booth succeeded, pushing the Eagles past the Boston University Terriers 79-33 and bringing the team its sixth conference win.

“I just had a good rhythm,” Booth said. “It felt good coming off my hands, so I just kept shooting. I had a lot of confidence.”

Booth led all scorers with a career-high 22 points in just 20 minutes of play, and sophomore guard Emily Kinneston followed with 13 points. Head coach Megan Gebbia said she credits Booth for inspiring the team by playing with confidence and enthusiasm.

“I think she came out ready to play, and when she’s ready to play and she carries us,” Gebbia said. “It makes it a lot easier for everybody to get in a groove, and I think her play was just outstanding and really, really helpful to everyone else.”

The Eagles, ranked seventh in the Patriot League, raced out to a 10-0 lead against the Terriers after the first four minutes of play, due to a combined scoring effort from Booth and sophomore guard Maria Liddane. Sophomore forward Michael Harris also added two points before Boston sank its first basket off a three-pointer from junior guard Sarah Hope. Booth responded to Hope’s three-point shot with a jumper of her own, and the Eagles continued to overpower the Terriers through the game, never letting the lead drop below eleven points and outrebounding Boston 44-24.

Heading into the third quarter, the Eagles led 54-23, and Gebbia took the opportunity to rest Booth, Liddane and junior forward Lauren Crisler to provide her younger players the opportunity to see the floor.

“I told them in the locker room before the game, ‘you never know when I’m going to call your name, and when I call your name, I expect you to do what you’re supposed to be doing,’” Gebbia said. “It was just great for them to just get out there and have game experience. Having freshman and sophomores is a struggle at times, but they’re maturing every day.”

Underclassmen led AU’s defensive efforts, as Kinneston picked up eight rebounds and freshman forward Cecily Carl kept the Terriers out of scoring position with two blocks and a steal.

Offensively, Liddane added eight assists, and Gebbia said that she has seen her young team look to leaders like Booth for confidence and support on the court.

“She [Maria] is becoming more and more confident, and I think she’s really looking for Ari now,” Gebbia said. “She’s trying to find Ari as much as possible on the perimeter, which I think is a benefit.”

The Eagles face Army West Point on Saturday in New York in a quest for their second consecutive win, and the Black Knights rank first in the conference with an undefeated record at home.

“They don’t lose at home, and our goal is ‘hey, maybe we can be the first team to go in there and get a W from them,” Gebbia said.

sscovel@theeagleonline.com