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American Escapes Women's Basketball, 66-51

Jan. 29, 2011

Box Score |  Photo Gallery 

EASTON, Pa. - The Lafayette women's basketball team ran with defending Patriot League co-champion American for 30 minutes on Saturday afternoon at Kirby Sports Center. Unfortunately, one stretch in the second half made the difference as the Eagles escaped College Hill with a 66-51 win.

The loss snaps a two-game winning streak for the Leopards, who now stand at 9-13 overall and 2-5 in the Patriot League. American improves to 15-6 on the season with a 5-2 league tally.

Senior co-captain LaKeisha Wright led the Leopards with 12 points, moving into eighth on the all-time scoring list with 1,222 career tallies. Fellow senior co-captain Elizabeth Virgin joined her in double figures with 10 points. As a team, Lafayette shot 36 percent (18-50) from the field, 30.8 percent (4-13) from downtown and 73.3 percent (11-15) from the free throw line.

Lafayette was edged on the glass, 39-36, despite 10 rebounds from sophomore Samantha Jordan. The Leopards posted 10 second-chance points off of 11 offensive rebounds, while American `s 14 offensive rips led to 12 points.

Defensively, the Leopards held American's two leading scorers to a combined 1-for-18 shooting and 12 points. Liz Leer, who came into the game averaging 12.8 points per contest, shot 1-for-10 en route to scoring just six points. Lisa Strack was also well below her season average of 12.6 points per game, tallying all six of her points at the stripe due to an 0-for-8 shooting performance from the floor. The Eagles' Stephanie Anya led all scorers with 16 points in addition to nine boards.

The first extended run of the game went to American, as the Eagles broke open a 10-8 contest with an 11-2 stretch over a span of 4:25. The Leopards posted the next six tallies, cutting the margin to five at 21-16 with 6:09 to go in the half. The Eagles would extend their lead back to eight points, but an 8-0 run by the Leopards - fueled by three-pointers from Jackson and Manning - sent the squads into the intermission deadlocked at 29-29.

The Leopards shot 45.8 percent (11-24) from the field in the first half, knocking down two of four three-point attempts and converting 62.5 percent (5-8) of their free throws. Lafayette held a 21-16 edge on the glass, led by six first-half boards from Virgin and Jordan.

A bucket from Virgin opened the second half and gave Lafayette its first lead of the contest. The teams traded buckets to a 35-35 tally, at which point the Eagles ran off nine consecutive tallies to rebuild a 44-35 advantage. American never pulled away, but the Leopards were unable to piece together a prolonged run against one of the nation's top defenses. With Lafayette fouling intentionally in the closing minutes, the Eagles converted their free throws to extend the final margin to a deceptive 15 points at 66-51.

The Patriot League schedule turns over next weekend, with the Leopards beginning the second round on Saturday, Feb. 5 at Holy Cross. Action returns to Kirby Sports Center on Wednesday, Feb. 9 as Colgate visits College Hill to close out the annual home-and-home series.