American outperforms women’s basketball for third straight loss

Media Credit: File Photo by Eric Lee | Staff Photographer

Sophomore center Kayla Mokwuah reaches for the ball in a game against Coppin State. In the Colonials' matchup against American, Mokwuah led all scorers with a career-high 18 points.

Women’s basketball suffered its third consecutive loss against local rival American Sunday afternoon.

The Eagles (4-6) topped the Colonials (6-6) 66–53 after outscoring GW in all four quarters. Despite nearly doubling American’s points in the paint, GW went cold from deep and could not capitalize off turnovers with the same efficiency as the Eagles.

“It’s always nicer to go into Christmas break with a win, but we know how hard this place is to play here at American,” head coach Jennifer Rizzotti said in a video on Twitter after the game.

Sophomore center Kayla Mokwuah led all scorers with a career-high 18 points. She shot 9-of-13 from the field and tacked on seven rebounds.

“I’m definitely happy with the way Kayla played,” Rizzotti said. “I thought that to see the version of her from last February was nice heading into conference play soon.”

Redshirt freshman guard Tori Hyduke followed with nine points and a team-leading six turnovers. Redshirt freshman forward Mayowa Taiwo led the team in assists, dishing out six helpers.

The Colonials nabbed the lead in the opening minutes with a layup from freshman forward Faith Blethen. The Eagles turned the ball over four times before evening the score on a jump shot. A 6-2 run ensued for American, and the team never relinquished its lead for the remainder of the game.

The Eagles outshot the Colonials from the field, sinking 51 percent of its attempts. The Colonials shot at a .444 clip from the field throughout the contest.

Despite committing six turnovers apiece in the first frame, the Eagles scored seven points from turnovers while the Colonials netted just two. By the end of the first quarter, the Colonials trailed by three points.

Both teams saw an increase in shooting percentage from both the field and beyond the arc. The Eagles shot 9-of-12 from the field while the Colonials sunk 9-of-19. GW shot 50 percent from deep, and American netted about two-thirds of its three-point shots in the second quarter.

The Eagles captured their largest lead of the half, going up 28–18 at the five-minute mark, but the Colonials rallied back with a 9-0 run to cut the lead down to one.

American took a 6-0 run of its own in the final minute, closing out the half with a three pointer from senior guard Kaitlyn Marenyi. She sunk four triples for a team-leading 16 points.

American secured a 38–31 lead over GW heading into the locker room.

The third quarter became a defensive battle with shooting percentage drops on both squads. The Colonials hit 4-of-11 and the Eagles converted 6-of-16 attempts from the field. American and GW struggled from beyond the arc too, netting 25 and 0 percent, respectively.

For the second straight game, the Colonials went cold from behind the arc in the second half, missing all three of their attempted triples. GW netted nine points from deep but made up for the low point production with 32 points in the paint.

“We need to continue to make sure we’re letting our offense work for us,” Rizzotti said.

The Colonials managed to outshoot the Eagles from the field in the fourth quarter, sinking 50 to 42 percent. But the Eagles outperformed the Colonials from deep, converting 3-of-7 buckets. The Colonials failed to knock down their two attempts outside the arc.

With less than a minute left, American earned its largest lead of the game, taking a 17-point 66–49 lead. The Colonials put up four more points by the sound of the final buzzer to linger behind at 66–53.

“We’re a young team that’s still growing together and learning together,” Rizzotti said. “Hopefully these next couple of days will be a good chance for them to recharge, spend some time with family, get healthy and come back and be really ready to go for our last nonconference game and, of course, for 2020.”

The Colonials will not see action for a week, returning to the hardwood Sunday against William and Mary in their nonconference finale. Tipoff is slated for 2 p.m.

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