Junior Liz Leer scored a career-best 27 points and added eight rebounds, five assists and two blocks en route to an 82-47 victory for the American University women's basketball team on Saturday afternoon at Bender Arena. With the victory, the Eagles move to 9-1 in the Patriot League and have now won 10 of 11 games.
American (16-8, 9-1 Patriot League) led the entire game following Ohemaa Nyanin's initial bucket 13 seconds into the game. Colgate (9-15, 4-6 PL) hung tough the first few minutes, as a Sami Kozlowski three-pointer cut its deficit to 8-7 three minutes in.
But the Eagles took control from that point forward, running off eight straight points over 2:36 to take a 16-7 advantage. Leer accounted for all eight points during the stretch on three consecutive made field goals, including a three-pointer.
American followed with another 8-0 run to extend its lead to 14, 27-13, with 9:03 remaining in the opening half. The margin remained between 10 and 15 for the remainder of the half, as the Eagles took a 38-26 advantage into halftime on the strength of 18 Leer first-half points.
In the second half, Leer continued exactly where she left off prior to intermission, knocking down an opening three to extend AU's lead to 15. The Eagles eventually opened up a 20-point advantage, 49-29, on another Leer trifecta with 12:47 remaining. The lead expanded to 26, 60-36, on a Michelle Kirk layup with 9:19 to go, and eventually became 30, 70-40, on a Nyanin jumper with 3:47 to play. The final margin ended up at 82-47 in favor of AU, marking the Eagles' first 30-point win since January 19, 2 008, when AU won at Colgate, 88-58.
Leer scored a career-high 27 points for American on an efficient 9-15 from the floor, including 4-5 from three-point range. She was also 5-6 from the free throw line, and added team-highs with eight rebounds, five assists and two blocks.
"She really played well, knocked down open shots," remarked Head Coach Matt Corkery in talking about Leer's performance. "She's got a little of versatility in the ways she can score. When she's shooting the three...that's pretty dangerous because you can also post her. I'm very proud of the way Liz played but also proud of our team as far as how they got her the ball."
Kirk, the Patriot League leading scorer at 18.5 ppg, and Lisa Strack each chipped in 14, while Nyanin had 10 points. Raven Harris also had eight points along with four steals, four assists and three rebounds, while Ebony Edwards picked up five steals for the Eagles.
American shot an impressive 54.2 percent from the floor (27-52), which led to a season-high 82 points. Addtionally, the Eagles were 8-17 from three-point range (47.1 percent). Colgate only shot 28.3 percent in the game (15-53).
The 1,291 fans at Saturday's game set a new women's basketball attendance record in Bender Arena. The previous mark was 1,177, which was set on last season on February 7. Additionally, the contest was part of a special day of events, including National Girls and Women in Sports Day; Pink Zone, the WBCA's breast cancer initiative; and Phil Bender. In honor of the day, members from each of AU's women's teams conducted a youth clinic following the game.
The Eagles will be back in action on Wednesday, February 17 when they travel to West Point, N.Y. to face Army. Game time is slated for 7 p.m.
Watch Corkery's postgame interview: