Jan. 26, 2013
American 45, Army 42
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Army's hot start to Patriot League play was halted on Saturday afternoon at American as women's basketball fell to the Eagles 45-42 at Bender Arena. The Black Knights entered the game undefeated in conference play after four games for just the second time in program history, but a frenzied American defense prevented Army's offense from finding a groove and ultimately resulted in the Black Knights coming up short in their lowest scoring game of the season.
Army falls to 15-5 and 4-1 in Patriot League play, while American improves to 11-8 and 4-1.
Despite going scoreless through the first 20 minutes, freshman Kelsey Minato tied for the game high with 12 points, alongside sophomore Olivia Schretzman. Minato has led or tied for the lead in scoring through all five Patriot League contests this season.
Neither team found a rhythm in the first half as Army's two leading scorers in Minato and senior Anna Simmers were held scoreless. The Black Knights managed just 16 points through the first 20 minutes for their lowest total since Feb. 18, 2012 which was also at American.
Minato, who entered the contest as the Patriot League's leading scorer in conference games at 19.5 points per game, looked more like her usual self to open the second half, scoring nine of Army's first 11 points of the period. Schretzman, who scored the Black Knights' first basket of the half, gave Army its first lead of the game, 29-28, with 13:49 left after a pair of free throws.
After Schretzman's freebies, however, Army went scoreless for over six and a half minutes as the momentum the Black Knights had gained out of the break quickly evaporated. The score remained tied for nearly four minutes of that drought before American made a pair of buckets to match its largest lead of the game to that point, 33-29, with 8:33 left.
The Eagles clung to the lead for the next five minutes before Minato made her second three-pointer of the game, giving Army a 38-37 lead with 3:31 remaining. The Black Knights held that lead for just 30 seconds before American stole it back, an advantage the Eagles would keep for the remainder of the game.
Momentum swung in American's direction in the final two minutes as AU's lead grew to a game-high five points with 1:56 remaining.
Simmers, who had been scoreless to that point, picked the right time to find a bucket as her layup cut the deficit to three, 43-40, with 1:19 remaining. Schretzman grabbed the ball away from the Eagles after the bucket and sophomore Jordan Elliott laid it in off the dish from junior Jen Hazlett.
Army found itself down just one, 43-42, and with the ball after Simmers grabbed the rebound and called timeout off a missed three-pointer by Alexis Dobbs with 29 seconds left. The Black Knights took the ball down the court and waited until nine seconds was left on the clock to attack the rim when Simmers missed the shot, grabbed her own rebound and missed again before American took over and sealed the game as Army was forced to foul.
"We didn't play well," said head coach Dave Magarity after the game. "It's not that we didn't compete hard or play hard because we did, but at the end of the day we didn't shoot the ball well and the first half was abysmal. Our two leading scorers were 0-for-10 in the first. Thankfully Minato just kept coming and coming and she made some huge shots.
"We got some good play off the bench by Jordan Elliott and Ciara Jackson," Magarity continued. "At the end of the day we're not getting the production we need. We can't allow a team that thrives on pressure like American to change the way that we play. The free-throw differential says it all. We're not being aggressive. We're settling for step-back shots. They went to the line 22 times to our six and that's a red flag in a one-possession game. We never got into a comfort zone; their pressure was forcing us to not get into our sets until 15 seconds was left on the shot clock. It's something we need to get better at as a team."
Army shot just 30.4 percent as a team for the game, including 24.1 percent in the first half as American defeated the Black Knights for the fourth consecutive time. Army won the battle of the boards, 42-31, as Schretzman, Aimee Oertner, and Minato all grabbed seven caroms apiece.
Dobbs led American with 12 points while Geleisa George added 10 points. Sarah Kiely had a team-best six rebounds.
Army will return home to Christl Arena on Wednesday when the Black Knights host Holy Cross at 7 p.m. The Crusaders lost at Bucknell, 62-59, on Saturday afternoon and enter the Army game with a surprising 1-4 record in Patriot League play and 9-11 mark overall.