Feb. 18, 2009
WASHINGTON - Despite a 20-point effort from sophomore Michelle Kirk, the American University women's basketball team fell to Army 60-58 in overtime in Bender Arena.
Army shot the ball well out-of-the-gate as consecutive three-pointers from Jessie Coiffard and Courtney Wright put the Black Knights ahead by seven, 16-9. Nicole Ryan answered with two free-throws to make the score 16-11 at the ten minute mark. Michelle Kirk sank a three of her own - the only basket for the next three minutes - and the score was 16-13 with 7:20 remaining.
Army (16-10, 6-5 PL) extended the lead to 22-13 on an Erin Anthony three-ball with 5:04 remaining in the first half. AU fought back with a determined full court press, and narrowed the Army lead to 26-21 with a Kirk layup at 2:20. Following a Pam Stanfield basket, steal by Ryan and another layup by Stanfield, the Eagles cut the Army lead to a single point, 26-25 with half a minute remaining. Alex McGuire sank a jumper to close out the first half with the Black Knights ahead 28-25. Two Nicole Ryan free-throws gave the Eagles the lead at 31-30, followed by a Talicia Jackson three with 15:43 left in the 2nd half, that capped a 9-0 Eagles run and upped the lead to 34-30, the largest that American (18-8, 8-3 PL) would enjoy on the evening.
An Erin Anthony lay-in with 12:30 remaining put Army back in the lead, but Jackson scored am old-fashioned three point play to take the lead back 39-37. Anthony tied the game at 11:45, 39-39, and a basket from McGuire extended the Army lead to three points.
The Black Knights continued to control the game in the paint, with a McGuire layup extending Army's lead 52-44. Leer made it a two-possession game with a bucket at 3:45, and the Eagles continued to chip away Army's lead in the waning minutes of regulation. After a Stanfield steal, Kirk drew a foul and put one of two foul shots in the hole to bring the Eagles within three, but Nalini Hawkins answered with a three-pointer for Army to make the score 54-49 with a minute and half left in the game. Kirk sank a three with just under a minute left to bring the Eagles within one basket the Black Knights. Talicia Jackson then hit a jumper from the right wing just inside the three-point line to tie the game at 54 with 14 seconds remaining in regulation. American's defense was able to prevent Army from getting off a shot as time expired and the game went into an extra session.
American won the opening tip of the five-minute overtime period, but Army took the lead on an Anthony layup. Kirk answered for the Eagles, draining two from the charity stripe with 3:38 left in the game. Both teams played tough defense, with neither finding the bottom of the net until Army took the lead back at the 2:19 mark of overtime. Leer immediately answered, as the game was tied for the 6th time on the evening, this time at 58-58 with 2:02 left. Erin Anthony would then hit two foul shots down the stretch while Army's defense hardened, not allowing American to take advantage of its final possessions and Army's two point margin stood over the final seconds.
Anthony led all scorers while securing her 11th career double-double for the Black Knights, scoring 21 points and grabbing 13 rebounds. McGuire scored 18 and chipped in two rebounds and three assists.
Kirk led American's scoring with 20 points for the second time against Army this season, chipping in two assists and six rebounds. Jackson and Stanfield finished with ten points apiece, and Stanfield grabbed a team-high seven rebounds. Leer and Ryan rounded out the Eagles scoring with nine and ten points, respectively.
The Eagles will return to action this Saturday as they travel to Worcester, Mass looking for the season sweep of Holy Cross. American returns to Bender Arena next Saturday, February 28th in the regular season home finale. The Eagles will host Lafayette at 2pm. Prior to the game, seniors Talicia Jackson, Sahar Nusseibeh, and Pam Stanfield will be honored. Tickets for the game are still available by calling 202-885-TIXX or by clicking here.