WEST POINT – The Army women’s basketball team capitalized on a turnover-prone American squad to capture a 61-46 win at Christl Arena on Saturday afternoon. With the win, the Black Knights have secured a home game for the Patriot League Tournament Quarterfinals, as Army is guaranteed to finish among the top four teams in the conference for the 12th time in the program’s history. Freshman Kelsey Minato kept her double-digit scoring streak alive at 12 games with a game-high 20 points against the Eagles.
Among the many notable achievements Army’s win over American attained is the Black Knights’ 20th win of the season, the first time the team has accomplished the feat since 2006-07 and the second time under the direction of seventh-year head coach Dave Magarity. Magarity becomes the only head coach in program history to record multiple 20-win seasons. Army heads into the final week of the regular season with a 20-7 record, including 9-3 in Patriot League contests. The Eagles dropped to 13-13 overall, 6-6 against conference foes.
The Black Knights led wire to wire as American came out of the gate sputtering, failing to record a single point until the 15:24 mark in the first half, while recording three turnovers in that same span. The Eagles followed with six more turnovers en route to Army leading 15-4 before American head coach Matt Corkery was forced to burn his first timeout.
Army used the Eagles’ 12 first-half turnovers to score 10 points as the Black Knights led by as many as 11 through the first 20 minutes. Junior Jen Hazlett, who scored six of Army’s first eight points of the game, had a game-high seven points at intermission as the Black Knights took a 29-20 lead into the locker room.
The second half started out not much differently as American scored just two points through the first six-and-a-half minutes as Army extended its lead to as many as 18. The Black Knights had a setback as Minato was called for her third foul of the game with 13:54 remaining as American went on a 13-1 run to cut Army’s lead to single digits, 41-33.
Turnovers and fouls doomed the Eagles in the end, however, as Army was shooting one-and-one with over 10 minutes to play and into the double-bonus with over six minutes remaining. The Black Knights scored 12 points from the free-throw line in the second half while adding 19 points off 21 AU turnovers to seal the win for the Black Knights.
Minato (20) was one of three Black Knights in double figures as freshman Brianna Johnson was a perfect 4-for-4 from the floor en route to matching her career high with 10 points, while sophomore Olivia Schretzman chipped in 10 as well. The Black Knights out-rebounded the Eagles, 29-20, as Hazlett snagged a team-high eight boards.
Geleisa George was the lone American player to score in double figures as she recorded 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting, while Sarah Kiely had a game-high 10 rebounds.
Army’s win over American is its first since Jan. 19, 2011, while the Black Knights’ win in Game 2 of the season series after losing Game 1 is just their second in series history and first since 2009.
The Black Knights will begin the final week of the regular season at Holy Cross on Wednesday night. The Crusaders defeated Bucknell, 57-49, on Saturday afternoon to stand at 7-5 in Patriot League games and 15-12 overall. Holy Cross won Game 1 of the season series with Army, 51-46, at West Point.