Michelle Kirk scored 15 points and Lisa Strack added 14 in leading the American University women's basketball team to a 56-42 victory at Army on Wednesday night in West Point, N.Y. The Eagles' defense was key in the win, holding the Black Knights to an 11.1 percent clip from three-point range.
Strack had her way early on for American (17-8, 10-1 Patriot League), scoring 10 of the team's first 12 points. Her final bucket during the stretch, a three-pointer, gave the Eagles a 12-7 advantage with 14:21 to play in the opening half. Army (10-15, 4-7 PL) came back to knot the score at 14, which would end up being the last time the game was tied. A 6-0 American run, capped on a beautiful pass from Raven Harris to Ashley Yencho for the transition layup, extended its advantage to 24-17 with 4:29 to go in the half. After Army responded, the Eagles scored the final five points of the half to take 29-20 lead into halftime. Strack led AU with 12 points at intermission on 5-7 shooting from the floor.
American came out firing to begin the second half, scoring the first 10 points to open up a 39-20 lead. Ebony Edwards finished the run with a three-pointer from straight-away. The Black Knights finally scored their first bucket 5:44 into the half, and ended up running off nine more points in a row to trim AU's lead to eight, 39-31, with 10:28 to go.
With all the momentum working in Army's favor, Strack responded with a key layup, and then Kirk, the five-time Patriot League Player of the Week this season, took over. She knocked down four consecutive buckets, the final of which gave the Eagles a 49-35 lead with 6:03 to go and put the game virtually out of reach. The Black Knights were unable to mount any kind of charge in the final minutes, as American came away with the convincing 56-42 road victory.
Kirk led AU with 15 points, 11 of which came in the second half, while Strack chipped in 14 in 6-11 shooting from the field. Ohemaa Nyanin recorded a game-high 11 rebounds for the Eagles, while Kirk had seven and Liz Leer grabbed six. Harris also had a productive effort with seven points, three rebounds and three steals.
Army was led by Erin Anthony's game-high 18 points on eight-of-15 from the floor. She also had seven rebounds in the loss.
AU dominated the rebounding battle, holding a 43-27 margin over Army, which included a 20-9 advantage on the offensive glass. American's three-point defense was also highly effective in holding the Black Knights to an 11.1 percent clip (2-18) from beyond-the-arc.
"A big key to the game for us was offensive rebounding," said Head Coach Matt Corkery. "We did a nice job on the glass and created extra scoring opportunities on second shots. We also had good play from our bench in the first half. Army is a quality team and [Head Coach] Dave [Magarity] does a great job. Anytime you can walk away from here with a win, you are excited about it."
The Eagles will return to action on Saturday, February 20 when they host Holy Cross at Bender Arena. Game time is slated for 2 p.m.