Michelle Kirk's sixth 20-point effort of the young season led the American University women's basketball team to a 59-44 win over Morgan State on Wednesday night at Bender Arena.
American (5-4) never trailed in the game, jumping out to a hot 7-0 start in the game's opening two minutes on five points by Kirk. Morgan State (3-6) would get on track and knot the score at 13 with 10:35 to play in the opening half, although this would be the last tie of the game. Kirk, a junior, proceeded to knock down another three-pointer to open up a 16-13 advantage, and later in the half, back-to-back trifectas by junior Liz Leer and Ebony Edwards would extend the Eagles' lead to 26-15 with just under three minutes to play in the opening stanza.
American carried a 30-17 lead into halftime, and continued to apply the pressure early in the second half. AU went on a 9-2 run to begin the second 20 minutes, giving the Eagles a 39-19 advantage with 15:58 left in the game. Morgan State refused to go away easily, however, as the Bears grinded their way back into the game over the next 12 minutes. Morgan State eventually cut its deficit to eight, 47-39, with 4:01 to play, but that is as close as the game would get. A key Leer layup stopped the Bears' momentium, and Kirk cemented the victory with the next four points to extend the American advantage to 53-39 with 2:28 remaining. The two squads played even in the final few minutes, and the Eagles came away with the 59-45 victory.
Kirk led the Eagles for the eighth time in nine games this season with 20 points on an efficient eight-of-13 shooting from the floor. The leading scorer in the Patriot League (20.3 ppg) has now scored at least 19 points in seven of AU's games this season.
Leer also scored in double figures for the Eagles with 10 points, while grabbing seven rebounds. Senior Ohemaa Nyanin chipped in seven points and matched a career-high with nine rebounds for AU. Additionally, sophomore Raven Harris tied career-bests with eight points and six assists, while classmate Lisa Strack matched her career-high with eight rebounds.
The Eagles outshot Morgan State by a 44 to 29 percent margin, and were five-for-12 (41.7 percent) from three-point range. The Bears were led by Corin Adams' 14 points, although her production came on four-of-20 from the field. AU also held a 43-31 rebounding advantage.
"I really felt good about the defensive game that we played," remarked American University Head Coach Matt Corkery on his live postgame interview on Eagles Vision TV. "I thought that was the key to our success tonight...we didn't give up many second chance opportunities. That was one of our goals going into the game."
American will conclude its three-game homestand this Sunday, December 20 against the Maryland Terrapins at 2 p.m. Tickets are available by clicking here.
Fans unable to make it to the game 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.