Women’s basketball suffers first loss in five games at American

Junior guard Brianna Cummings stares down an American defender Wednesday night. Cummings posted 10 points and 8 rebounds in the overtime loss. Jack Borowiak | Hatchet Photographer
Junior guard Brianna Cummings stares down an American defender Wednesday night. Cummings posted 10 points and 8 rebounds in the overtime loss. Jack Borowiak | Hatchet Photographer

This post was written by Hatchet staff writer Marty Fenn.

In one of the most grueling contests of the season for women’s basketball, the Colonials were dealt a tough 66-61 overtime defeat at American on Wednesday evening as guard Elina Koskimies hit a three-pointer with 13 seconds remaining in overtime to seal the victory for her team.

Koskimies was all alone in the corner after the Eagles (3-5) executed a pick-and-roll, with forward Cecily Carl getting into the lane on the slide and then finding Koskimies for the open jumper.

The Colonials (7-3) had a chance to tie at the other end, but graduate forward Lexi Martins turned the ball over, and two free throws later the Colonials’ four-game win streak had ended.

“It was a defensive lapse,” head coach Jennifer Rizzotti said of the play that put the Eagles up for good. “We got switched on our match-ups and had a post player guarding a shooter.  We had to help crash on the drive and they found the open man in the corner.”

The Colonials received strong contributions once again from seniors Hannah Schaible and Caira Washington, as Schaible poured in 19 points and five rebounds while Washington had 11 points, 7 boards and 4 assists.

Junior Brianna Cummings also had a good performance, as she scored 10 points and pulled down 8 boards. However, it would not be enough as American had five players score in double-figures, including a well-rounded game from junior guard Maria Liddane, who tallied 11 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists.

The Colonials trailed nearly the entire game and the entirety of the fourth quarter until a layup by Washington put them up 54-53 with just under three minutes to play.

After Eagles forward Cecily Carl leveled the game at 57 apiece with 34 seconds left in regulation, the Colonials had one more offensive possession to drain the clock and potentially win the game.

It didn’t pan out, as Schaible’s post entry to Washington was knocked away, and a mad scramble for the ball sent the game into overtime, where the Eagles eventually prevailed.

The game lacked pace all night, as both teams milked the shot clock looking for quality chances. Likewise, a combined 35 turnovers between the two teams left much to be desired on that side of the floor, seeing as both teams shot better than 43 percent from the floor for the game: the Colonials shot 43.1 percent, the Eagles 48.1

“Before the game we talked about how it was going to be [American’s] game plan to slow us down,” Rizzotti said. “I thought we were very impatient, and we didn’t let our offense work for us.

The Colonials outrebounded the Eagles 34-26 and had an astonishing advantage in second-chance points (21-4), but American scored 25 points off of GW turnovers and went 11 of 13 from the free throw line while GW was just 6 of 14 from the charity stripe.

“They were the first team all season that really pushed us to work through the shot clock,” Cummings said.  “We just have to do a better job of making the right pass and moving the ball around.”

The Colonials will hit the road for a tough tests against South Dakota State on Sunday before returning home to face a No. 10 Stanford squad at the Smith Center on Dec. 21. Tip-off on Sunday is scheduled for 2 p.m.

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