PL Quarterfinals: American 67, Lafayette 47 Mar 11, 2019 21:39:52 GMT -5
Post by notjuanjones on Mar 11, 2019 21:39:52 GMT -5
The defense was outstanding tonight.
AU took control early in its quarterfinal matchup against the 10th-seeded Leopards, and it was with defense. The Eagles stayed connected to Natalie Kuckowski, Lafayette's second-team all-PL forward, and didn't let her get going. Cecily's post defense was terrific; she didn't let Kuckowski get position on the block, and when she did get the ball, Cecily used her size to make the shots difficult. But the perimeter defense was just as good. I thought this was one of Kailyn Lewis's best games defensively; she, Katie and indy each were terrific flattening out Lafayette's ball handlers, never letting them turn the corner and get into the paint. That included putting the clamps on Nia Holland, the senior guard who'd looked so good down the stretch Saturday in Lafayette's win at Army. The result was a 20-point first-half lead that held up through some sloppy play in the second, but nonetheless got AU to the semifinals, where we'll play third-seeded Lehigh Thursday at Bender.
Katie was looking for her shot early, scoring nine first-quarter points as Lafayette sagged in on Cecily. With Lafayette missing seven of its first eight shots and turning the ball over multiple times (they had 18 turnovers in the game), AU jumped on them, taking a 14-2 lead with 6:14 left in the first on a layup by Kaitlyn. AU led 18-5 after one. We were even better in the second, with Elina's three starting a 17-2 run. We struggled a little when Lafayette went to a 2-3 zone, but after a few empty possessions, we finally started finding the openings. Cecily got into the paint for a short jumper. Jade knocked down a corner three. Katie found Lewis on the right wing for another three with 4:41 left in the half, making it 26-12. Six more points, culminating in two free throws by Maddie During at the 2:15 mark, put the Eagles up 32-12. We led 36-14 at the break.
Kuckowski got going a little in the third with 11 points, but the lead stayed at 25 most of the quarter. We didn't play well, but other than Kuckowski, neither did they. A three-point play by Kuckowski late in the third ended a 10-2 run that brought Lafayette within 18, but Elina ended the period with a three to make it 54-33 after three. And we weren't all that sharp in the fourth, either, but the defense held up, and Coach was able to sub the starters out in the last couple of minutes. Every minute saved tonight will help us Thursday.
Katie finished with a game-high 20, along with 6 assists, making 7 of 13 shots. Elina added 14 on 5 of 10 from the floor. Cecily had 12, with 7 boards; Jade added 7 and 7. We shot 48 percent from the floor, with 17 assists on 23 field goals, and held Lafayette to 30 percent (16 of 54)-and just three assists total.
Now 21-9, and one game away from another PL final.
On to Lehigh!