The American University women's basketball team got off to a quick start and never looked back against Colgate on Saturday afternoon, rolling to an 80-58 victory in Hamilton, N.Y. Five Eagles recorded at least nine points in the win, including a game-high 26 points from Michelle Kirk.
American (10-7, 3-0 Patriot League) came out firing on all cylinders, jumping out to a 10-0 lead in the first six-plus minutes of action. AU's scoring began on a steal and layup by Kirk, which was followed by back-to-back jumpers by Liz Leer and Kirk. Raven Harris continued the run with a driving layup and Lisa Strack concluded the streak with a bucket in transition, forcing Colgate (6-11, 1-2 PL) into burning an early timeout.
The Raiders quickly got back into the game, cutting the deficit to one, 16-15, before the Eagles went on another 10-0 surge to take a 26-15 advantage with 6:34 remaining in the first half. Leer hit three consecutive jumpers during the stretch to provide the offensive spark for American.
A Kirk three-pointer extended the AU advantage to 12, 29-17, although Colgate responded with a 9-0 run to cut the Eagles' lead to 33-30 with 1:21 left in the first half. The Eagles took a 37-32 lead into halftime on the strength of 13 points from Kirk in the opening 20 minutes.
Colgate opened the second half with a quick three-pointer to trim the AU lead to two, although the Eagles responded with their third 10-0 spurt of the game to take a 47-35 lead with 16:44 to play. American continued to control the action over the next several minutes, opening up an 18-point advantage, 58-40, on a beautiful three-point play by Kirk with 13:44 to go.
The Eagles extended their advantage to 20, 71-51, on a Kirk trifecta with 6:30 remaining, and AU cruised to the 80-58 road victory.
The Eagles' 80 points scored set a new season-high, which came on 50 percent shooting from the field (31-62) and 47.1 percent from three-point range (8-17). Colgate shot a respectable 44.7 percent from the floor (21-47), but it was not enough to keep pace with AU. Additionally, American committed a season-low nine turnovers while forcing 18 from Colgate.
For the 15th time in 17 games, Kirk led AU in scoring, recording a game-high 26 points on eight-of-15 shooting from the floor. She also matched a career-best with four steals and was a perfect seven-of-seven from the free throw line.
Leer was productive for the Eagles with 13 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three blocks, while Edwards recorded 10 points, a career-best eight rebounds, five assists and four steals. Ohemaa Nyanin and Strack each chipped in nine points.
American has won a season-high four consecutive games, beginning 3-0 in Patriot League play for the first time since the 2002-03 season. The Eagles will look to extend their winning streak on Wednesday, January 20, when they return home to Bender Arena to take on Army. Tip time is scheduled for 7 p.m.