The trio of Michelle Kirk, Liz Leer and Lisa Strack combined for 50 points en route to a 67-46 victory for the American University women's basketball team over High Point on Sunday afternoon at Bender Arena. Kirk's 22 points paced the Eagles, marking the seventh game this season she has led the team in scoring.
The beginning of the game did not start out as well as American (4-4) had hoped, as High Point (2-5) jumped out to a 14-6 lead in the first seven-plus minutes. The Eagles were able to quickly regroup, and dominated the rest of the first half thanks to the play of Leer. The junior forward finished the first 20 minutes with 14 points and seven rebounds, and led the Eagles on a 30-12 run to close out the half. American took a ten-point advantage, 36-26, into intermission.
The second half began in a similar fashion to how the first half ended, as the Eagles continued to control the action against High Point. The Panthers opened with the first four points of the second half to cut the AU lead to six, 36-30, although that is as close as they would get. American went on a 10-2 run over the next two-plus minutes, which included eight Kirk points, to open up a 46-32 advantage at the 12:54 mark. After a High Point three-pointer to cut its deficit to 11, the Eagles responded with the next five on buckets by Ebony Edwards and Strack to take a 51-35 lead midway through the second half.
AU would continue to apply the pressure, eventually opening up a 20-point advantage, 60-40, on a made free throw by Strack with 7:12 remaining in the game. The two squads would play even down the stretch, as the Eagles came away with a convincing 67-46 home victory.
American was highly efficient from the free throw line in the game, shooting 22-of-28 for 78.6 percent. In the past five games, the Eagles have shot an impressive 75.8 percent (75-99) from the charity stripe.
Additionally, the defensive pressure from American did the job against High Point, holding the Panthers to 31 percent shooting, including 18.2 percent (2-11) from three-point range. LeTeisha Dean, the second-leading scorer for High Point coming into the game at 9.8 points per contest, was held to two points on one-of-13 shooting from the floor.
Individually for the Eagles, Kirk's 22 points improves her Patriot League-leading scoring average to 20.4 points per game. She was six-of-15 from the floor, and eight-of-nine from the free throw line. She also chipped in seven rebounds while playing all 40 minutes for the first time in her career.
After a hot first half, Leer finished with 16 points on five-of-13 shooting and six-of-seven from the free throw line. She recorded game-highs with nine rebounds and four blocked shots. Additionally, Strack chipped in a career-high 12 points for AU and seven rebounds, while Raven Harris dished out a game-high six assists.
"I thought we did a good job on both ends of the floor," American University Head Coach Matt Corkery commented on his live postgame interview on Eagles Vision TV. "Defensively, we got a lot of stops, and we followed our game plan as far as what we were trying to do on that end of the floor....Offensively, we executed. We really got to the foul line, and made a bunch of free throws and that always helps you win."
The Eagles will have a 10-day layoff for final exams before they host Morgan State on Wednesday, December 16. Tip time from Bender Arena is set for 7 p.m. American will conclude its three-game homestand on Sunday, December 20 at 2 p.m. against ACC power Maryland.
Fans unable to make it to both upcoming games can watch all of the action live on Eagles Vision TV, part of AUeagles.com. All men's and women's non-conference home games will be available on Eagles Vision TV, which features multiple camera angles, a live scoreboard and analysis from a studio broadcast team and courtside reporters. A year-long Eagles All-Access pass, available for only $49.95, gives you access to all Eagles Vision TV games, plus the archives of all broadcasts from this season anytime you want. Single-game subscriptions are also available for only $5.95 per contest. To signup for Eagles Vision TV, click here.