Easy layup for AU over winter break
Sometimes a five-game losing streak is just what a team needs to awaken a sleeping giant. And that sleeping giant is the AU Women's Basketball team, picked to finish second in the Patriot League.
After losing five straight, the Eagles got their PL season off to a sensational start with wins over Navy and Bucknell.
The Eagles defeated the Midshipmen, 51-42, in an ugly game that saw the Eagles shoot 24 percent from the field.
"In my 20 years of coaching, I don't think I've ever seen a game like that," Eagles head coach Shann Hart told The Washington Post. "For us to win, that says a lot about our bench."
Senior point guard Kaitlyn Schuyler continued her outstanding play, leading AU with 11 points, reaching double-digits for the 11th straight game. Junior Kim Salem scored 10 points, and junior Chanel Hunt scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds.
While they struggled offensively, the Eagles played a great defensive game, forcing 24 turnovers and holding Navy's top two scorers, Maile Shimoda and preseason all-Patriot League guard Courtney Davidson, to a combined 17 points.
The Eagles got their first win in almost a month last Saturday when they defeated the Bucknell Bison, 50-49, to open their PL season on a winning note.
Schuyler scored the winning basket for the Eagles with two seconds left to secure the victory.
Junior Angel Jordan led the Eagles with 13 points, and Salem chipped in with nine points and eight rebounds. Freshman Kimeshia Junkins made her first start of the season and grabbed a rebound in seven minutes of action.
The Eagles overcame 17 points from Bison point guard Lindsey Hollobaugh, and eight points and 15 rebounds from forward Desire Almind.
The win snapped a five-game losing streak for AU, in which they lost to non-conference foes William and Mary, Elon, Brown, Kent State and Liberty.
William and Mary defeated the Eagles, 72-58, behind Kyra Kaylor's 20 points and nine rebounds.
Senior Chanel Spriggs led the Eagles with 13 points, five rebounds and five steals while Schuyler and Hunt chipped in with 12 apiece.
The Tribe shot 50 percent from the floor, while the Eagles shot only 29 percent against their former rival from the Colonial Athletic Association.
AU returned to Bender Arena on Dec. 30. Unfortunately, they closed out the year with a disappointing 72-53 loss to Elon.
Hunt (16 points) and Schuyler (13) were the only Eagles to score double digits, and Spriggs scored seven points to go with her 10 rebounds.
The Eagles opened the new year with a 61-52 loss to Brown University in Providence, R.I., on Jan. 2.
Sarah Hayes scored 12 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for Brown, while Schuyler led the Eagles with 13 points.
The Eagles lost their next two games at home against Kent State and Liberty.
Kent beat the Eagles 57-52 behind 17 points from Lindsey Shearer, and 11 points and nine rebounds from Andrea Csaszar.
Schuyler carried the Eagles, as she scored 13 points and pulled down seven boards. Hunt scored 17 for the home team.
The most heartbreaking loss for the Eagles came at the hands of Liberty, as they lost 76-72 in overtime on Jan. 6.
Katie Feestra dominated inside for Liberty, scoring 28 points and grabbing 17 boards and Kristal Tharp scored 20 points.
The Eagles had a balanced scoring attack, with five players in double figures for the game. Joanna Barnes continued her hot shooting as she scored 23 points to lead the Eagles.
Spriggs and Schuyler scored 11 points apiece and Angel McNatt and Hunt scored 10 each. Hunt also pulled down nine rebounds and Spriggs continued her defensive mastery with a six-steal game.
Next up for the Eagles is Saturday's big showdown with Lehigh. The Mountain Hawks come in for a 3 p.m. contest at Bender Arena.