Women’s basketball wins their second home game of the season
Eagles top Youngstown State in overtime
The women’s basketball team won 78-72 in an overtime face-off against Youngstown State Saturday in Bender Arena. The game had a razor-thin scoring margin throughout all four quarters. The teams struggled to separate themselves in five minutes of overtime. After junior forward Cecily Carl’s free throw 20 seconds into overtime, AU kept the lead for the remainder of the overtime period, allowing them to come away victorious from the constant battle.
The Eagles (5-3) didn't push too hard defensively in the early minutes of the game, finding themselves without possession of the ball more often than not in the first quarter. While AU rarely had possession, they used the three-point shot to gain and maintain a lead over the Penguins. The Eagles secured the lead on a layup by senior forward Michael Harris three minutes into the game.
“I was telling them… to make [Youngstown State] make two [point shots],” head coach Megan Gebbia said. “I don’t think we did a particularly good job on [Youngstown State’s junior guard Nikki Arbanas]. We were close, but we weren’t close enough. We wanted to limit their three-point attempts, and as I look at the stat sheet, we really didn’t limit their three-point attempts. We did force them to miss some shots, which was nice.”
The Penguins tried to match each basket that the Eagles made in the first quarter, but they fell short, losing the initial lead that they had. AU used three-point field goals and free throws to maintain their lead over Youngstown State.
Carl’s home opener was riddled with three-pointers, completed free throws and field goals all around. In that game, she led the Eagles in points (17) and defensive rebounds (seven). Though her start was slow against Youngstown, Carl scored 12 points and recorded nine rebounds. The junior started lighting up the scoreboard in the second half, particularly in the fourth quarter.
The majority of the Eagles’ points came from junior guard Kaitlyn Lewis (16). She played 30 minutes, and in that time, she made two three-point shots and six field goals. The junior credits a lot of the team’s success this year in comparison to recent years to the non-conference road trips that the team takes early in the season.
“We’re playing a lot better this year than we were last year and the year before,” Lewis said, “I think its because the upperclassmen are getting to know the younger people a lot more and trying to bond outside of basketball.”
A large contributor to the Eagles’ success in the early season has been Gebbia’s decision to use her deep bench, she said.
“Any time you have a deep bench like that who can score, you’re dangerous,” Gebbia said. “We just have to make sure we’re playing both ends of the floor. Our bench is learning and getting better at playing both ends.”
The team plays next Saturday, Dec. 9 against the University of Denver in Bender Arena at 12 p.m.