Jan. 6, 2007
BETHLEHEM - American University opened up Patriot League play with nine three-pointers, 35 rebounds, 12 steals and most importantly a 55-52 win over Lehigh on Saturday night at Stabler Arena.
American ended the first half with seven steals, with four coming from Talicia Jackson (Minneapolis, Minn./DeLaSalle) and opened the second in a similar manner, this time the steal came from Maggie Smith-Davidson (Ontario, Ore./Ontario). On the Lehigh turnover, AU used quick transition and Smith-Davidson was on the other end of the court for the lay-up.
American extended its lead to as much as nine throughout the remaining 20 minutes, but with key threes from Sara Ellis, Lehigh stayed on the Eagles' toes. With just over 13 minutes remaining, Emily Geosits hit a lay-up to bring the Mountain Hawks within two. Hayes was there for AU, nailing it from three-point territory to gain the five-point advantage. Similar to much of the game, Ellis was there to answer with a three of her own.
After back and forth scoring between the two foes, Hayes sunk her third three of the night to extend American's lead to eight. Lehigh went on a run of their own, bringing themselves within three on 2-2 shooting from the charity stripe by Adrienne Blount. This was as close as the Mountain Hawks would come with AU going on to win by three.
American University ended the first stanza with a 35-29 advantage over the Mountain Hawks. This marked the first time in six games that AU went into the locker room with the lead.
After Lehigh University jumped to a 4-0 start at the beginning of the first, Hayes opened the scoring gates for American University. Within two minutes, American went on a 7-0 run to take its first lead of the game, including a short jumper from Sahar Nusseibeh (Uniontown, Ohio/North Canton Hoover) and a three-pointer from Nicole Ryan (Safety Harbor, Fla./Clearwater).
With Lehigh's Ellis netting back-to-back threes, the Mountain Hawks regained the advantage. Rachel Brazell (Mansfield, Texas/Mansfield Summit) was there to answer for American hitting two buckets from downtown. Brazell ended the first with eight points, leading AU offensively going into the second.
There were seven lead changes throughout the first, with both teams going back and forth netting shots from beyond the arch. On a three-point play by Ryan and a three from Hayes with just over four minutes remaining on the clock, AU kept the lead for the remainder of the first and the rest of the night. American ended the first on a fast break from Ryan to Hayes, sinking the lay-up just before the buzzer.
Hayes finished with a game-high 15 points, with Jackson adding in 11 of her own. American held a 23-16 advantage in turnovers and recorded 12 steals on the night.
American improves to 6-10 overall and 1-0 in the Patriot League. Tonight's win marked the first time since the 2003-04 season AU opened conference play with the "W." The Eagles hold a 12-5 margin in the series with Lehigh and are on a two-game win streak against the Mountain Hawks. AU returns to action on Wednesday when it travels to Bucknell to face the Bison at 7 p.m.