With 4:58 left to play in the fourth quarter at Bender Arena, the AU Women’s Basketball team closed the lead of the Army Black Knights to two points. Over the final minutes of the game, the Eagles struggled offensively while Army closed the game on a 12-4 run to hand AU their fourth Patriot League loss Saturday afternoon.
The Eagles (4-13, 2-4 PL) rallied from a nine-point fourth quarter deficit to put themselves in a position to beat the offensively potent Black Knights (14-2, 5-1 PL), but managed only one field goal in the final five minutes, a three-pointer by senior guard Ari Booth with the Eagles down by ten points. Each of the Eagles four Patriot League losses have come by ten points or less.
“It’s disappointing,” head coach Megan Gebbia said of the Eagles numerous close losses this season. “You know just a couple errors here and there could change the outcome. These games give me confidence in the team as this is, supposedly, the best team in the league and we’re right there with them.”
While the Eagles struggled offensively, their defense was stout, holding Kelsey Minato, the seventh-leading scorer in the nation, to only five field goals and below her average of 23.6 points per game. Senior guard Jordan Light was tasked with guarding Minato, and 10 of Minato’s points came in the third quarter with Light sitting on the bench due to foul trouble.
“I think Jordan did a very nice job on her [Minato], I wish she hadn’t got into foul trouble late in the second quarter and early in the third quarter,” Gebbia said. “They’re a very difficult team to guard. They had some role players step up for them [today].”
The Black Knights came into their matchup with the Eagles boasting gaudy offensive numbers. In their 15 games, Army was scoring 69.1 points per game, shooting 40.5 percent on three-point field goals. AU held Army without a three-point field goal. Minato and Jean Parker came into the game shooting above 40 percent on three-point attempts.
Freshman forward Cecily Carl led the Eagles offensively with 10 points and six rebounds, while sophomore guard Emily Kinneston added eight points off the bench. The Eagles shot 33.3 percent as a team for the game and experienced long droughts over the course of the game, including no field goals in the first six minutes of the second quarter.
“I think we didn’t get the ball inside enough,” Gebbia said. “They had 32 [points] in the paint, we had 14. That’s a huge discrepancy and that needs to change for the next game.”
The Eagles return to the court Wednesday Jan. 20 against Lafayette at 7 p.m. in Bender Arena looking to improve on their offensive output.