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Sunday, June 23, 2024
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Emily Kinneston goes up for a layup in Saturday's 52-42 loss to Army

Women’s Basketball drops another close game in conference play

Offensive struggles, late drought plague Eagles in 52-42 loss to Army

With 4:58 left to play in the fourth quarter at Bender Arena, the AU women’s basketball team closed the lead of the Army Black Knights to two points. Over the final minutes of the game, the Eagles struggled offensively while Army closed the game on a 12-4 run to hand AU its fourth Patriot League loss Saturday afternoon.

The Eagles (4-13, 2-4 PL) rallied from a nine-point fourth quarter to put themselves in a position to beat the offensively potent Black Knights (14-2, 5-1 PL), but managed only one field goal in the final five minutes, a three-pointer by senior guard Ari Booth with the Eagles down by ten points. Each of the Eagles' four Patriot League losses have come by ten points or less. 

“It’s disappointing,” head coach Megan Gebbia said of the Eagles numerous close losses this season. “You know just a couple errors here and there could change the outcome. These games give me confidence in the team as this [Army] is, supposedly, the best team in the league, and we’re right there with them.” 

While the Eagles played ineffective offense, their defense was stout, holding Army junior Kelsey Minato, the seventh-leading scorer in the nation, to only five field goals and below her average of 23.6 points per game. AU senior guard Jordan Light was tasked with guarding Minato, and ten of Minato’s points came in the third quarter with Light sitting on the bench due to foul trouble.

“I think Jordan did a very nice job on her [Minato], I wish she hadn’t got into foul trouble late in the second quarter and early in the third quarter,” Gebbia said. “They’re a very difficult team to guard. They had some role players step up for them [today].”  

The Black Knights came into the matchup against the Eagles boasting gaudy offensive numbers. In their 15 games this season, Army averaged 69.1 points per game, shooting 40.5 percent on three-point field goals. AU, however, stopped Army from hitting a single three-point field goal. Minato and junior Jean Parker came into the game shooting above 40 percent on three-point attempts.

“We did run the people [Minato and Parker] we wanted to run off the three-point line off the three-point line. They’re hard enough to guard when you’re not giving them threes,” Gebbia said. “We achieved almost all of our defensive goals. I think the problem was the offensive end for us.”

AU freshman forward Cecily Carl led the Eagles offensively with ten points and six rebounds, while sophomore guard Emily Kinneston added eight points off the bench. The Eagles shot 33.3 percent as a team for the game and experienced long scoring droughts over the course of the game, including no field goals in the first six minutes of the second quarter.

“I think we didn’t get the ball inside enough,” Gebbia said. “They had 32 [points] in the paint, we had 14. That’s a huge discrepancy, and that needs to change for the next game.”

The Eagles relied on a young lineup for the majority of the game, with Light, Booth and junior Lauren Crisler being the only upperclassmen to log game minutes.

The Eagles return to the court Wednesday Jan. 20 against Lafayette at 7 p.m. in Bender Arena looking to improve on their offensive output.

“We just hope that we continue to get better, continue to work on our offense to see if we can find different ways to score,” Gebbia said.

As the semester comes to an end and one of the founding members leaves American University, Section 202 has decided to take a trip down memory lane. For our fans, old and new, who are wondering how Section 202 came to be, this episode is a must. Listen along as hosts Connor Sturniolo and Liah Argiropoulos reminisce about the beginning of Section 202 and how it got to where it is now.

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