Late Three-Pointer Pushes Wagner Over AU Women’s Basketball, 73-72

Michelle Kirk
Michelle Kirk

A three-pointer by Wagner's Stephanie McBride with under 30 seconds remaining gave the Seahawks a hard-fought 73-72 victory over the American University women's basketball team on Saturday afternoon in Staten Island, N.Y. Junior Michelle Kirk led the Eagles with a game-high 25 points in the defeat.

Both teams got off to slow starts on the offensive ends, although American (3-3) was the first to find its range thanks to Nicole Ryan. The senior scored eight early points, including two three-pointers, to give the Eagles a 15-4 lead midway through the first half. Wagner (2-3) quickly found its rhythm over the next two minutes, rolling off seven unanswered points to cut the AU lead to four, 15-11. The Eagles, however, would regain a nine-point advantage, 22-13, on an Ohemaa Nyanin layup with 7:11 left in the opening stanza.

The Seahawks controlled the action for the remainder of the opening half. Wagner went on a 10-2 run to cut the AU lead to one, 24-23, with just over five minutes remaining. Back-to-back three pointers by Wagner's McBride gave the Seahawks their first lead of the game, 34-31, with 2:32 to play. Wagner eventually stretched its lead to eight, 39-31, before the Eagles responded with the last four points of the half on buckets by Nyanin and Lisa Strack, to cut the halftime deficit to a 39-35 margin.

AU continued the strong play opening up the second half, scoring the first four points on baskets by Ryan and Kirk to tie the game at 39. But Wagner responded with the next five to take a 44-39 lead before back-to-back buckets by Kirk to cut the margin to one, 46-45. Kirk would continue to have the hot hand for the Eagles, as the teams played even before a pair of Ryan free throws tied the score at 56 with exactly 10 minutes to play.

Wagner, however, would rattle off seven unanswered points to take a 63-56 advantage. The Eagles responded, eventually fighting back to tie the game at 66 with 3:14 to play on a Liz Leer bucket from close-range. The game would go back-and-forth throughout the remainder of the second half, although the Eagles never led until a pair of Strack free throws gave AU a 72-70 lead with 52.9 seconds to play.

Facing a one-point deficit, Wagner came down the floor, where McBride knocked down a clutch three-pointer from the corner to give the Seahawks a 73-72 lead with 28 seconds left in the contest. After a pair of timeouts, the Eagles had a game-winning opportunity, as Kirk penetrated and kicked it out to a wide-open Strack in the corner, who rimmed out a three-pointer in the final seconds. Both teams scrambled for the rebound, but time ran out before the Eagles could get another shot on target.

Kirk led American with a game-high 25 points on 10-of-18 shooting from the floor. She was a perfect three-of-three from three-point range. Ryan chipped in 14 points, including six-of-seven from the free throw line, and dished out four assists. Leer and Strack were in double-figures with 10 points each as well for the Eagles. Leer also collected a game-high eight rebounds.

McBride paced Wagner with 18 points, including the game-winning bucket. She was seven-of-11 from the field, including four-of-five from deep.

In the game, Wagner shot 50 percent from the floor compared to 43 percent for the Eagles. Both teams were hot from three-point range, as the Seahawks shot 57 percent (8-14) while AU was 5-11 from long-range (46 percent).

The Eagles will be back in action this Wednesday, December 2 at Drexel. Tip from Philadelphia, Pa., is scheduled for 7 p.m.