American survives Navy to advance in the Patriot League tournament
Kayla Henning led with a career-high 19 points
Navy opened the scoring, but junior guard Ivy Bales immediately answered with a jumper for American. This back and forth play continued for much of the first quarter until the Midshipmen went on a 17-9 run through the final minutes. Junior guard Kayla Henning closed out the quarter with a 3-pointer with just two seconds left, and Navy led 21-16.
Junior forward Emily Johns and Henning kicked off the second quarter with a jumper each to shrink Navy’s lead to just 1 point. The two teams began another back-and-forth series of baskets, but this time American was a step ahead of Navy. As buckets were traded, Henning finally brought the Eagles even with the Midshipmen with a jumper at the end of the quarter. Navy had the last word with a 3-pointer to close the half and retake the lead, but the Eagles still outscored the Midshipmen in the second quarter 16-14.
Bales, senior forward Lauren Stack and Johns started off the offense in the third quarter and took the lead for the Eagles. Navy called a timeout right after Johns’ jumper made the score 37-35. American finally had the momentum, and they would not lose this lead again. Though they didn’t trail, Navy did even up the score once and remained in range of AU. Stack closed out the quarter with a buzzer-beating layup to give American a 9-point lead. By the end of the third quarter, Henning already had 15 points, with Stack and Johns following her with 14 and 10 points, respectively.
Johns initiated the scoring in the final frame which would end up being a dominant one for American. The Eagles led for the entire quarter, with Navy only coming within 6 points of them on two occasions. Navy outscored American 24-22 in the quarter overall, but that 2 point difference did not matter as AU was already so far ahead and went on to win 78-71.
AU’s strong performance was thanks to dominant play from their top four players. Stack played a herculean 40 minutes with 17 points, and Henning added 36 minutes and her career-high of 19 points. Bales put up 13 points in 35 minutes of playing time, and Johns contributed 16 points in her 33 minutes.
“I didn’t think it was going to be easy, I told my team ‘we’re going to have to win by doing something we haven’t done before, we’re going to have to show that we’ve grown’” said head coach Tiffany Coll. “In previous teams, playing at home did matter for us – I’m not sure with this team that matters one bit”
The Eagles will travel to #2 Holy Cross for their game on Monday, March 6 at 7 p.m.
This article was edited by Delaney Hoke and Nina Heller. Copy editing done by Isabelle Kravis and Natasha LaChac.