The American University women's basketball team began the 2010 portion of its schedule at Columbia on Saturday afternoon, and fell by a final score of 66-56. The Eagles held a four-point advantage midway through the second half, but Columbia proved to be too much down the stretch, coming away with the 10-point victory at Levien Gymnasium in New York, N.Y.
American (6-7) got on the scoreboard first with a Liz Leer jumper, but Columbia (8-4) responded with seven straight points to take a 7-2 advantage early in the opening half. Columbia continued to control play over the next several minutes and would never trail in the first half, opening up a 21-9 lead at the 9:17 mark. The Eagles, however, scored the next seven points, including five from Michelle Kirk, to cut the deficit to five, 21-16, with 6:52 to play. The two squads would play even over the final few minutes of the first half, as Columbia took a 28-24 advantage into intermission.
In the second half, Leer provided an offensive spark for the Eagles, scoring the team's first eight points to trim the Columbia lead to two, 34-32, with 16:29 to play. The two teams would trade buckets before an Ohemaa Nyanin layup gave American a 38-37 advantage, its first lead since 2-0. The Eagles would open up a four-point advantage, 46-42, midway through the second half on back-to-back Ashley Yencho three-pointers.
But the Lions took over down the stretch, going on a 19-3 run over the next nine minutes to take a 62-49 lead with 1:05 remaining. Judie Lomax proved to be too much inside for the Eagles, scoring nine points during Columbia's run. An Ebony Edwards three-pointer with 52 seconds remaining cut the deficit back to single digits, but Columbia held tough and came away with a 66-56 home victory.
Columbia's Lomax recorded game-highs with 24 points, 15 rebounds and six steals, while Kathleen Barry and Lauren Dwyer chipped in 17 and 15 points, respectively, for the Lions.
American was led by Leer's 17 points on eight-of-16 shooting from the floor. She also recorded team-highs with five rebounds, a career-high five assists and three blocked shots in 40 minutes of action. Kirk registered double figures for the Eagles with 12 points, while notching a career-best four steals. Raven Harris also recorded a career-high with four steals.
Columbia outshot the Eagles by a slim 47.9 percent to 44.2 percent margin. The Lions were an efficient 6-11 from three-point range, while American was 4-12 from long range. Columbia outrebounded AU, 35-23, although American forced 23 Columbia turnovers.
The Eagles will be back in action on Monday, January 4 as they welcome Maryland-Eastern Shore to Bender Arena. Tip time from Washington, D.C., is scheduled for 7 p.m.