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Eagles soar over Mountain Hawks in Patriot League victory

Women’s basketball sweeps series against Lehigh

In their second matchup of the season, the American University women’s basketball team (7-11) beat Lehigh University (11-7) 59-55 on Jan. 20. 

Only 17 days after beating Lehigh on the road, the Eagles met the Mountain Hawks again following American’s first Patriot League loss, and their determination was evident. Graduate student forward Lauren Stack won the tip-off while senior guard Ivy Bales scored the game’s first basket. Senior guard Kayla Henning increased the lead to three points following Bales’ basket, yet for the remainder of the quarter, the Eagles could not regain the lead. At the buzzer, the first quarter ended with American trailing 11-10. 

Despite a strong steal from sophomore forward Molly Lavin to begin the quarter, American had a difficult time sinking field goals and conceding offensively. Nevertheless, the Eagles’ defense continued to suppress Lehigh’s typically outstanding shooting game. The Mountain Hawks made 66.7 percent of field goals, yet the Eagles contained them to 33.3 percent of  3-pointers. Lehigh’s offense emphasizes an outside-of-the-paint approach, and it was guards like Henning and her season-high three steals that kept the Mountain Hawks' 3-point shots to a minimum. Ultimately, the Eagles still ended the half trailing 27-18. 

At the half, Bales was the game’s third-highest scorer, beaten only by Lehigh’s guard Maddie Albrecht and forward Meghan O’Brien

The third quarter started with a bang for the Eagles, as both Bales and Johns scored a combination of four free throws immediately. With a combination of baskets from Stack, Johns and junior guard Bailey Garbee, Bales’ lay-up halfway into the quarter brought American the lead for the first time since the start of the game. For the remainder of the quarter, the Eagles fought to hold the lead. A late 3-pointer from senior guard Anna LeMaster was the only one scored by American throughout the entire game and brought the lead back to the Eagles. Nonetheless, American ended another quarter down 44-41. 

At the beginning of the fourth quarter, the Eagles’ offense seemed grim. Lehigh increased their lead to 8 points with only seven and a half minutes of play remaining. However, with memorable offensive performances by Stack, Johns and Bales, the Eagles went on an 8-0 run, tying the game with under two minutes remaining. As Bales sunk the game-winning jumper with nine seconds remaining, Lehigh received a personal foul, ultimately giving Stack the final points of the game. The game ended 59-55 with the Eagles beating the Mountain Hawks for the second time this season. 

Head coach Tiffany Coll credited the victory greatly to American’s defense, saying the team “loves to pressure.” 

The Eagles’ pressure was undeniable; holding the notorious 3-point Mountain Hawks to a shooting record of only 2-16 outside the paint played a massive role in beating Lehigh. In their previous meeting, Lehigh’s guard Lily Fandre was Mountain Hawks’ second-highest scorer. Thanks to the Eagles’ phenomenal defense, Fandre scored only four points, two of which were free throws. 

When asked about American’s strong defense, especially against Fandre, Stack said “that allowed us to put more pressure on her and not worry about her off-ball movements she had been getting the first game.” 

The Eagles’ next will take on the Lafayette Leopards in their next home game on Jan. 31 at 7 p.m. in Bender Arena.

This article was edited by Penelope Jennings, Delaney Hoke and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Luna Jinks, Isabelle Kravis and Olivia Citarella. 

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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