We went through some similar problems with DD. She had night terrors for a long time. She didn't really have trouble falling asleep during that time, but shortly after she started telling us she was scared and she was coming up with every excuse under the sun to come out of her room. We tried a lot of things, but eventually resorted to bribery and that worked for us. We would make a chart. It started with one night for one tiny reward (a piece of candy the next day, or a sticker, or something else small). Then we extended it to 3 nights in a row for a little bigger item (a Target $1 aisle prize or a My Little Pony blind bag - she loves those things). After a couple months, we were able to move on from the rewards. Every once in a while she will go back to her non-sleeping ways and we will pull out another reward. And sometimes she really does seem scared (thunderstorm, watched something on tv that stuck with her, etc) and in those cases I will stay a little while longer lying down with her to fall asleep and then I will leave her closet light on until I go to bed so she feels better. She also has about 4 other night lights in her room
One other suggestion - have you ever tried just starting bedtime at like 7:30, not letting on that it is any earlier? I remember my pediatrician telling me once with DD when we were having trouble getting her to fall asleep to try earlier. Maybe if she is really overtired it is making it harder, and if you tried earlier she might be able to settle down?
Sorry you are struggling with this. My kids are 2 1/2 and 5 1/2 and I still celebrate when I get to sleep through the night without at least one of them waking up for one reason or another. Lack of sleep is so tough! I hope you can figure something out with your DD very soon!