American University women's basketball coach Jeff Thatcher calls the box-and-one a "junk" defense. But one team's junk is another's treasure. Old Dominion's box-and-one contained the Eagles' best player, Kate Miller, and helped the No. 18 Lady Monarchs to a 76-51 victory yesterday before 2,174 at Bender Arena.
It was Old Dominion's 89th consecutive Colonial Athletic Association win.
"Defense won this game," Lady Monarchs Coach Wendy Larry said. "I thought collectively we did a really nice job of focusing on Kate Miller."
Old Dominion (13-3, 6-0) held Miller, the Eagles' leading scorer at 18.4 points per game, to a career-low regular season total--three points. American (9-6, 2-3) has lost 19 in a row to the Lady Monarchs.
By staying in the box-and-one almost the entire game, the Lady Monarchs had one defender shadow Miller while the other four stayed in a zone defense. Miller, who came into the game ranked second in the conference in scoring, missed 7 of 8 shots. That ended her double-figure scoring streak at 26 regular season games. Old Dominion continually rotated fresh defenders on Miller to wear her down.
"That was a definite plus for them that their defenders didn't get tired on me because they were switching it up," Miller said. "It was frustrating for sure. It was tough to get open, and when I did, it was tough to create."
Thatcher accepted some of the blame for his team's poor showing against this type of defense.
"Quite frankly, I don't think I did a particularly good job in having our team prepared for the box-and-one," he said. "We thought we had some things in our repertoire that would be more effective than they were."
Part of the problem was that the Eagles' offense runs through Miller. Without her touching the ball, American was at a loss.
"The box-and-one hurt us because Kate's normally the one controlling the floor and that threw us off a little bit," freshman guard Jaye Marolla said.
Marolla was one of the few bright spots for American. She came off the bench to hit a career-high four three-pointers and lead the team in scoring with a career-high 16 points.
American took a 9-6 lead and appeared ready to make it a competitive game. But Old Dominion went on a 15-0 run for a 21-9 lead, which it extended to 44-24 at halftime.
GEORGIA TECH 73, MARYLAND 67: Regina Tate scored 15 points on 7-for-9 shooting to lead the Yellow Jackets (11-7, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) at Cole Field House.
Marche Strickland led the Terrapins (11-7, 3-5) with a game-high 32 points, including five consecutive three-pointers during a 65-second span late in the second half.
EAST CAROLINA 91, GEORGE MASON 79: Danielle Melvin scored 28 points to lead the Pirates (9-8, 4-2 CAA) over the Patriots (5-11, 1-4) before a women's record crowd of 3,152 at Patriot Center. With the score tied at 67 with five minutes left, East Carolina went on a 9-0 scoring run to seal the win.
Jen Surlas led the Patriots with a season-high 25 points.
HOLY CROSS 69, NAVY 57: Four Crusaders scored 11 points to lead the Crusaders (12-6, 3-1 Patriot League) in Worcester, Mass. Anna Kinne notched a game-high nine steals for Holy Cross. Erica Hayes led the Midshipmen (2-13, 0-3) with 23 points and nine rebounds.
VIRGINIA TECH 62, ST. JOSEPH'S 53: Tere Williams scored 25 points and grabbed 10 rebounds as the Hokies overcame a slow start to win in Philadelphia. Virginia Tech (12-5, 5-1 Atlantic 10 Conference) shot 38 percent in the first half and trailed 28-17 at halftime before erupting for 45 points in the second half. The Hokies' Amy Wetzel (12 points) scored the 1,000th point of her career. The Hawks are 15-3, 6-1.