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Saturday, March 9, 2024
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Women’s basketball sunk by Navy

Midshipmen outshoot Eagles from the field

The American University women’s basketball team (9-14) fought against the Navy Midshipmen (9-14) yet ultimately lost 69-55 in Bender Arena on Feb. 14. 

In their first meeting of the season, American hoped to sink Navy and build a winning streak following their electric victory against Holy Cross on Feb. 11. Navy freshman guard Zanai Barnett-Gay is ranked second in scoring in the Patriot League, forcing American to prepare for a team with a conference-renowned offense. 

Graduate student forward Lauren Stack won the tip-off for the Eagles and immediately passed the ball back to senior guard Kayla Henning. Senior forward Emily Johns scored the game’s first point with a layup. Navy retaliated with a bucket of their own and senior guard Anna LeMaster responded with another layup for the Eagles. 

With an impressive 7-0 run concluded by a fastbreak for Navy, American found themselves down 9-4. A layup by Johns and a block by sophomore guard Laura Nogues aimed to turn the game back in the Eagles’ favor, but at the halfway mark American trailed 11-6. Another fastbreak by the Midshipmen increased Navy’s lead to 11 points. 

Sophomore forward Molly Lavin scored another layup for the Eagles followed by two free throws, putting American back on the board for the first time in two and a half minutes. Despite Lavin’s efforts, the Midshipmen answered with two free throws of their own. Nogues concluded the quarter with another two free throws, leaving the Eagles going into the second down 19-12. 

Navy opened the second quarter with a 3-pointer, increasing their lead to 10 points. LeMaster replied with a 3-pointer, working to minimize the gap between the Midshipmen and the Eagles. Navy returned the favor with an additional two 3-pointers and a free throw, growing the gap once more. Lavin and LeMaster worked to keep the Eagles in the quarter, yet the Midshipmen continued to sink shots from the field. 

Establishing a 15-point lead over the Eagles twice in the quarter, it was evident Navy’s offense could not be gunned down. Despite another steal from Nogues, the Eagles could not keep up with the Midshipmens’ shooting. Navy ended the half with another shot from outside the paint, putting them up 38-20 over the Eagles. 

At the half, Navy sophomore guard Maren Louridas was the game’s leading scorer with 13 points. LeMaster held second with 8 points, while Lavin and Barnett-Gay tied for third with 6 each. 

Despite Navy beginning the third quarter with possession, a steal by Henning put the ball in the Eagles’ claws. A layup by Johns began to shrink the gap between Navy and American, but the Midshipmens’ sharp shooting increased their lead to 20 points. 

Senior guard Ivy Bales put up a jumper and a free throw, helping the Eagles slowly chip away at the Midshipmen’s lead. Johns found the space in Navy’s offense, successfully gaining another steal for the Eagles. With a throw down-court, LeMaster received a massive pass from Johns to nail a layup. 

Stack hit another layup for the Eagles with six and a half minutes remaining, lowering Navy’s lead to below 14 points for the first time since halfway through the second quarter. A combined offensive effort by Stack, Johns and Bales helped the Eagles outscore the Midshipmen 15-13 in the quarter, yet American still trailed Navy 51-35 with only a quarter remaining. 

The Midshipmen opened the final quarter with two free throws, further growing the gap between themselves and the Eagles. Johns, Lavin and Bales continued to get things to fall from the field in a combined effort to minimize Navy’s lead. LeMaster sank another two 3-point field goals, cutting Navy’s lead to only 10 points for the first time since the beginning of the second quarter. 

With the Midshipmen hitting both a free throw and a layup, they once again increased their lead. Nevertheless, the Eagles refused to go down without a fight. LeMaster grabbed a rebound to secure a double-double and nailed yet another 3-pointer to once again decrease Navy’s lead to 10. American ultimately outscored Navy in the quarter 20-18, yet the Eagles could not catch the Midshipmen. At the buzzer, Navy beat American 69-55. 

Louridas remained the game’s top scorer, with 23 total points. LeMaster once again held second with 19 while Johns secured third with 14. 

Both head coach Tiffany Coll and LeMaster credited the team’s shortfall with a lack of focus. 

“We had spurts where we were all in that mentality [attack mode], but sometimes we lack a little bit of focus,” said LeMaster.  

Looking forward, Coll said the team was “focusing on making sure our team be the best we can be, and right now we have to focus on our mental focus.” 

The Eagles next take on Colgate University at home on Feb. 24. 

This article was edited by Penelope Jennings, Delaney Hoke and Abigail Pritchard. Copy editing done by Luna Jinks, Liah Argiropoulos and Ariana Kavoossi.

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