WASHINGTON, D.C. – American had four players score in double figures as it was able to comeback from a halftime deficit to defeat Holy Cross, 67-62, in Patriot League women's basketball action on Saturday afternoon at Bender Arena. Crusaders junior guard Alex Smith (Delran, N.J.) scored a game-best 18 points and became the 29th Holy Cross women's basketball player to score 1,000 career points during the contest. American improves to 10-7 on the season and 3-0 in the Patriot League, while Holy Cross slips to 8-10 overall and 0-3 in the conference.
The Crusaders began the contest strong as they would take the 13-4 lead on a Smith layup with 16:01 on the clock. However, the Eagles countered with a 7-0 rally to trail 13-11 at the 11:49 mark. American was able to tie it up at 15-15 with 8:57 left in the half, as the two teams remained knotted two minutes later (23-23).
After a layup by HC senior forward Amy Lepley (Norfolk, Mass.) gave the Crusaders the 25-23 lead, American gained the lead on a trey by Ti'Asia McGeorge, which put the Eagles up 26-25. However, Smith got the ball on the next possession and drilled a three-pointer to cross the 1,000 point mark and give Holy Cross the 28-26 advantage. American's Alexis Dobbs hit a three on the other end to put the Eagles back up by one (29-28; 5:09), before Holy Cross went on a 9-2 run to go on top 37-31 with 1:30 left in the half. American closed the deficit to one point (37-36) late in the half, but junior guard Brisje Malone (Springfield, Mass.) hit a buzzer-beater to put Holy Cross on top 39-36 at intermission.
Holy Cross was able to work their advantage to seven points early in the second half as it held the 43-36 lead with 17:53 on the clock, however American countered with a 10-0 rally over the next two minutes to grab the 46-43 advantage at the 15:42 mark. The Eagles pushed their lead to six points on two occasions over the next four minutes, as they led 55-49 with 11:07 on the clock. Holy Cross responded with six straight points, capped off with a junior forward Christine Ganser (Needham, Mass.) layup, to knot the score at 55-55 (6:48).
American scored four points to grab the 59-55 lead, but the Crusaders answered and tied the score at 59-59 on the back of a Smith three-pointer. Over the next few possessions, the Eagles again scored four in a row, but Smith again hit another three to cut the deficit to one point (63-62) with 1:44 on the clock., American, however, was able to close out the game on a 4-0 run to clinch the 67-62 victory.
In addition to her 18 points, Smith hauled in four rebounds and dished out four assists. Lepley scored 16 points and had four boards, while Malone tallied 10 points and six assists. Ganser had seven points off the bench for HC, while freshman center Molly Hourigan (Memphis, N.Y.) hauled in a game-high eight rebounds. Jen Dumiak (13 points), Sarah Kiely (12 points), Geleisa George (11 points) and Dobbs (10 points) all scored in double figures for the Eagles.
Holy Cross connected on 48 percent of its shots in the contest (24 of 50), while American shot 25 of 57 from the floor (43.9 percent). The Crusaders hit 6 of 18 from behind the arc (33.3 percent), as the Eagles drained 35.7 percent of their shots from downtown (5 of 14). Both teams shot 66.7 percent from the charity stripe (Holy Cross: 8 of 12; American: 12 of 18).
Smith became the 76th player in the Patriot League to score 1,000 career points and the 11th player in Holy Cross history to reach the milestone during or before their junior year.
The Crusaders return to action on Wednesday, Jan. 23 when it will host Lafayette at 7:00 p.m. at the Hart Center.