Patriot League women’s basketball preview
The Eagles will take on Boston University in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament
The AU women's basketball team faces a tough road ahead to repeat last year's championship feat. The reigning Patriot League champions enter the 2016 tournament as the seventh seed and need to win four games in seven days to retain their title.
The Eagles struggled through the Patriot League season after 2015 third team all-Patriot League selection senior Michelle Holmes suffered a season-ending knee injury in December. The Eagles went 5-13 in league play and dropped seven of eight league games before defeating Navy 61-56 in their regular season finale on Wednesday.
Despite their Patriot League struggles, the team remains confident in their ability heading into the postseason. After Wednesday’s victory over Navy, freshman guard Kaitlyn Lewis said during the press conference that her expectations are still high for the Eagles.
“All the way,” Lewis said when asked how far the Eagles could go in the postseason. “I think today [Wednesday] is the start of a new season. We can make a run now, and anybody in the Patriot League can beat anybody else.”
The Eagles (7-22, 5-13 PL) open the Patriot League tournament at home against tenth-seeded Boston University Saturday at 2 p.m., and the winner faces second seeded Bucknell, a team that defeated the Eagles twice during the regular season.
The Eagles and the Terriers split their regular season matchups, with BU winning 63-59 in Boston on Jan. 13 while AU triumphed 79-33 in Bender Arena on Feb. 10. Senior guard Ari Booth notched 22 points and sophomore guard Emily Kinneston added 13 points in the win.
Senior forward Lauren Crisler, a third team All-Patriot League selection, leads active AU players, averaging 9.6 points per game and 6.6 rebounds per game, and freshman forward Cecily Carl, whose role on the team has steadily increased since Holmes’s injury, averages 7.8 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game. Carl, who was recently selected the Patriot League’s All-Rookie team, also averages 18.4 minutes per game for the season but has played an average of 25 minutes per game since January.
Junior forward Meghan Green, who averaged 9.8 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game during the regular season, leads the Terriers but scored just one point in her last matchup against AU.
AU and BU are the two lowest scoring teams in the Patriot League, averaging 53.0 and 51.8 points per game respectively. AU, however, boasts the fifth-best scoring defense in the Patriot League, holding opponents to an average of 59.8 points per game.
Should AU emerge victorious against the Terriers, the team would travel to Lewisburg, Penns. to face Bucknell, a team that finished 17-1 in the Patriot League. The Bison are led by sophomore guard Jacquie Klotz and junior forward Claire DeBoer, both unanimous first team All-Patriot League selections. Klotz averaged 16.4 points per game and 10.0 rebounds per game in the regular season, and DeBoer averaged 15.9 points per game and 7.2 rebounds per game. Bucknell freshman forward Kaitlyn Slagus, who averaged 7.9 points and 4.0 rebounds per game was selected as the Patriot League Rookie of the Year. Bucknell coach Aaron Roussell was selected as the Patriot League Coach of the Year.
All team statistics taken from patriotleague.org