RACHEL DEVOR / THE EAGLE
Stephanie Anya and Nicole Ryan both had memorable afternoons when the AU women’s basketball team defeated the Lafayette Leopards 66-51 on Saturday in Easton, Pa.
Anya tallied a career-best 16 points to go along with nine rebounds, while Ryan scored 12 and became the 14th player in program history to reach the 1000-point plateau.
Alexis Dobbs added 13 points for the Eagles, who outscored the Leopards 37-22 in the second half.
“We really came out strong to begin the second half and set the tone for the rest of the game,” Head Coach Matt Corkery told AU Athletics. “We strung a lot of possessions together while getting defensive stops, so that really helped us stretch the lead and get a cushion in the last few minutes.”
With the score knotted at 35 four minutes into the second half, the Eagles used a 16-2 run to seize control of the contest. Dobbs was the key contributor during the stretch, scoring nine points during the spurt that put AU up 51-37 with 8:16 remaining.
After Lafayette’s Madeline Fahan drilled a three-pointer one minute later, Anya responded with a layup to put the Eagles ups 13. The sophomore center shot 7-13 from the field in 19 minutes en route to her best performance at AU.
“Stephanie was very active, stepped up in the post and scored the ball for us,” Corkery said. “We were looking for someone to step up and she did that.”
Following Anya’s layup, the Leopards scored seven of the game’s next nine points as they tried to fight themselves back into the game. Two free throws from Melissa Downey sliced the AU lead to 55-47 with 4:36 to play.
The only points scored over the next two minutes would be two Lisa Strack free throws, as the AU defense prevented the Leopards from further cutting the deficit.
A Samantha Jordan jumper pulled Lafayette to within eight, before Ebony Edwards hit a layup that pushed the AU lead back to double digits. Ryan then hit the last of her four three-pointers on the night to put the Eagles ahead 62-49 with 1:37 remaining and squash any hopes of a comeback.
Dobbs and Strack each made a pair of free throws down the stretch as AU closed the 66-51 victory on a 9-2 run.
The win improved the Eagles to 15-6 overall and 5-2 in the Patriot League. With the loss, Lafayette dropped to 9-13 on the season and 2-5 in conference play.
AU will be in action next on Saturday, Feb. 5, when they host the two-time defending Patriot League champions, the Lehigh University Mountain Hawks.