Dec. 10, 2006
PHILADELPHIA - With lead changes from buzzer to buzzer, American University women's basketball gained control with just over seven minutes left in the second stanza to down Penn 61-51 on Sunday afternoon at the Palestra.
Penn came out of the locker room leading 26-23 with the second set of 20 minutes on the clock. With 13:00 minutes remaining Talicia Jackson (Minneapolis, Minn./DeLaSalle) tied it up at 34 on a jumper, with Liz Hayes (Easton, Pa./Easton) dishing the assist. Jackson finished with ten points on the day.
After the Quakers regained the lead, Maggie Smith-Davidson (Ontario, Ore./Ontario) was there to answer for American, tying it up with an offensive rebound and the lay-up. The junior forward finished with a career high of eleven points and also led both squads with a game-high of nine rebounds.
The University of Penn switched to a zone defense and with the plays ran right, Hayes was open for her outside shot. Down by three with 8:49 left, the junior guard netted it from three-point territory to tie the game at 40. Shooting 50% from three-point range, netting four on the day, and going 5-6 from the free-throw line, combined for a game-high of 19 points for the Easton, Pa., native. This was the third consecutive game Hayes has led the Eagles in points and the seventh time this season. On a Hayes/Smith-Davidson connection, AU took its first lead of the second with 7:46 remaining and held onto it from there to come out with the "W."
The first half started with several runs for both squads. American University opened the first five minutes of the game on a 7-0 run with the points split between Jackson, Sahar Nusseibeh (Uniontown, Ohio/North Canton Hoover) and Smith-Davidson. With Kelly Scott hitting a bucket from downtown, the Quakers put their name on the board and tied it up minutes later. Hayes took control for the red, blue and white, netting back to back buckets and leading Smith-Davidson down the court with a penetration pass for the easy lay-up. Penn took its first lead of the game with 2:57 remaining and held onto it for the remainder of the first.
This was the second straight year American University defeated Penn, but it marked the first time since 1991 that the Eagles were victorious in the Palestra. Last season, it was a similar game between the two foes, with AU coming out with a hard-fought 70-68 overtime win.
American will now have a 10 day break before its next game to excel in the classroom during finals. AU will return to action on Dec. 20 when the Eagles face Wagner at 7 p.m.