Feb. 11, 2009
WASHINGTON - In a game of two halves, American persevered through the tightly contested first stanza and then powered their way to a huge second half lead, ending up with an impressive 71-63 win at Bender Arena.
Talicia Jackson scored the first five points for the Eagles and Nicole Ryan dropped the next six leading American into the first media time-out with an 11-10 lead. The Bison continued to hold serve thanks to Joyce Novacek who hit her first three shots and Amanda Brown playing strong from the point guard position.
American (17-7, 7-2 PL) continued the defensive pressure and received an offensive spark from Ebony Edwards who made a nice driving basket to keep the game tight at 18-14. The Eagles had no answer for Novacek however as she continued her streak of perfection and made her next three attempts as well. The game remained tight as both teams competed evenly. American built its biggest lead of the half at just eight points taking a 29-21 lead with 7:26 to play. Bucknell had battled back to get within three, when American guard Talicia Jackson was fouled shooting a three pointer. Talicia hit the first two and Sahar Nusseibeh got a big offensive rebound on the last attempt. Making a nice pass to keep American on the offensive side. American converted on their next two possession to mount a 9-0 run, pushing the lead to 39-30. Bucknell once again closed the gap, yet American answered and took a 45-37 lead into the half when Pam Stanfield created her own mid-range jumper and it snapped through the net as the buzzer sounded.
Bucknell (12-10, 4-5 PL) came out of the break and showed the same fight that kept the game close to that point. However neither team could find a rhythm early. American methodically increased its lead and when they put together another nine point run, the scoreboard favored the home team 59-42 with 12:54 to play. This appeared to be the breaking point for the Bison as American extended its aggressive defense and forced Bucknell into a string of turnovers and difficult shot attempts. Just like the first half when nine Eagles tallied points, Coach Matt Corkery continued to take advantage of his team's depth. With everyone contributing, ten Eagles saw action before the 6:00 minute mark, the team built its lead to an insurmountable 68-48 advantage with 5:20 to go.
With the outcome in little doubt and American using the clock to its advantage, Bucknell made one last run. But American was never really challenged and cruised to a 71-63 victory.
The Eagles now make the longest road trip in the league and head to Colgate this Saturday.