Jan. 28, 2009
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Michelle Kirk scored a career high 27 points and grabbed 11 rebounds for her second double-double of the season, yet the Eagles fell 68-61 to Patriot League foe Navy. American dug itself a deep hole early, misfiring on their first 11 shot attempts while watching Navy build a 17-0 lead to start the game.
As American struggled, Navy point guard Kalen Kropa made sure every Mid was involved handing out seven first half assists. The assists were coming in droves for the Mids as they shot a torrid 60 percent from the three-point line and 52 percent from the field in the first stanza. American finally made it on the board when Lisa Strack connected on a driving lay-up at the 12:15 mark. Yet it was another two minutes before the Eagles could score again when Liz Leer drove the lane for two. Navy continued to dominate all aspects of the game taking a 32-6 lead when Kropla found K.C. Cordon streaking to the basket for an uncontested bucket. Navy's ability to get the free throw line also caused the Eagles fits as the Mids were eight for nine from the line, while American failed to get to the stripe at all in the first half.
The lone bright spot for the Eagles was the determined play of Michelle Kirk who scored the Eagles final 12 points before the break. Although Navy had no answers for Kirk, the scoreboard showed they had doubled up the Eagles and headed into halftime with a 38-19 lead.
Michelle Kirk came out to start the second half with the same intensity, scoring American's first basket. But Navy answered right back and kept the Eagles at bay for the first 9 minutes of the half. American would not falter and when Janelle McDonald scored with 11:08 to play, the Mids' lead to 52-35.
From there American extended its defensive pressure and began to create problems for Navy's shooters. On the offensive end, the Eagles found another hot hand in Liz Leer who, when all told, matched her career high with 18 points. After sinking two free throws to cut the lead to 17, Leer made a nifty steal which led to another Kirk jumper. As the ball went through the net, head coach Matt Corkery called a time-out and momentum in Bender Arena was beginning to favor the Eagles.
Sure enough, the Eagles went on an 11-0 run, culminated in a Kirk break away basket with just 2:13 left in the game. With the lead now six, Navy gained possession s under their own basket and called timeout. With precise execution, Navy's Kristen Bowen hit a streaking Angela Myers with a full-court inbound pass. The subsequent breakaway lay-up snapped the Mids' nearly six minute scoring drought and stalled American's impressive comeback. After the team traded several trips to the free throw line and with Navy holding a perilous eight point lead, American's Nicole Ryan was fouled while shooting a three point attempt. Ryan calmly sank all three free throws making the lead five with just :30 seconds to play.
However, in a game that American trailed by as many as 21 points in the second half, that was the closest the Eagles would get as Navy hit four of their final six free throws to hold on for the 68-61 victory.
The Eagles' next contest takes place at Lafayette College, Saturday, January 31 at 1 p.m.