American Holds Off Lafayette Comeback Effort
March 2, 2013
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Despite a late comeback effort that cut a 23-point lead down under 10 with 3:18 to play, the Lafayette women's basketball team did not have enough to overcome American on Saturday afternoon in Washington, D.C., falling to the Eagles, 69-52.
Thursday's quarterfinal matchups are all slated to tip at 7 p.m. Lafayette travels to Navy, Army entertains Colgate, Bucknell visits American and Lehigh goes to Holy Cross. The semifinal round will take place Monday, March 11, with the two winners going head-to-head for the Patriot League title Saturday, March 16 on CBS Sports Network.
Freshman Jamie O'Hare put together her best game since Jan. 30, tallying 13 points on 5-of-9 shooting and 3-of-7 from beyond the arc to lead the Leopards offensively. Co-captains junior Danielle Fiacco and sophomore Emily Homan each notched 12 points in the loss and snagged eight and six rebounds, respectively.
Lafayette shot much better than it did against Colgate on Wednesday, going 20-for-48 from the field (41.7%) and 4-for-13 from three-point range (30.8%). The Leopards held a 30-24 rebounding advantage and came away with 11 second-chance points.
American's Jen Dumiak led all scorers with 16 points, while Geleisa George and Alexis Dobbs recorded 15 and 13 points, respectively. The Eagles connected on 23 of their 47 attempts from the field (48.9%) and went 6-of-14 from distance (30.8%).
A multitude of defensive basketball occupied the opening minutes before back-to-back threes from American at the 17:30 mark put the Eagles up, 6-0. The Leopards finally got on the board with less than 15 minutes to play in the opening half when Fiacco knocked down a turnaround jumper from the left baseline to make the score, 6-2, with 14:37 to play in the half.
Over the next seven minutes, American jumped out to an eight-point lead at 19-11 with 7:22 to play in the first. That lead was extended to double-digits on Dobbs' lay-up, as the Eagles went up 23-13 with 5:52 remaining in the half.
That margin would not budge as Lafayette's attempts to close the gap were answered and the Leopards went into the halftime break trailing, 30-20.
Dumiak opened the second stanza with a shot from beyond the arc at the top of the key, but Lafayette junior Madeline Fahan answered with a run-out layup and Homan sank two free throws to get the Eagles' lead back under 10 at 33-24 with 18:27 on the clock.
However, two running jumpers from American's Geleisa George pushed the lead back up to 13 with 17:14 left, forcing a timeout from head coach Dianne Nolan. Another three for American out of the break gave the Eagles their largest lead of the contest to that point with just over 16 minutes to play, 42-26.
An old-fashioned three-point play from Dobbs at the 14:25 mark put American's lead up over 20 for the first time in the game with the score, 48-27.
Lafayette cut the American lead back under 20 as Homan fought through a foul and completed an and-one play of her own with 11:04 on the clock to make the score, 50-32. Peabody's three from the right wing with less than 10 minutes to play turned momentum in the Leopards' favor as it brought Lafayette within 15, 50-35.
O'Hare kept that momentum rolling as her three just before the eight-minute media timeout brought the Eagle lead to just 12, 52-40, and Fiacco's layup from the middle of the lane with 3:18 to play got the American advantage under 10 again at 56-47.
However, the comeback would never get closer than that as American hit its free throws down the stretch and iced away the game with a final score of 69-52.
Lafayette will be the seventh seed in the Patriot League Tournament and will take on second-seeded Navy in Annapolis, Md. on Thursday evening at 7 p.m. in the Patriot League Quarterfinals.