Courtesy of AU Athletics
Excuse the women’s basketball team if they didn’t know how to react after losing to Navy in Annapolis Jan. 23. After all, it was the first time that they’ve lost a regular season Patriot League contest in two years.
But after suffering their first conference loss in two seasons, the Eagles (11-8, 4-1 PL) responded strongly Jan. 26 by taking down the Patriot League’s only undefeated team still standing at the time, Army (15-5, 4-1 PL), 45-42. The Eagles defeated the Black Knights to win their third straight home game and staked their claim as the top team in the conference.
Since AU beat Army, four teams — AU, Army, Bucknell and Navy — now stand huddled together at the top of the conference standings.
Defense led the Eagles to victory over Army as they limited the Black Knights to the lowest scoring output anyone has produced against AU this season. Army shot just 30 percent from the field and turned the ball over 16 times. Defense has also been the key for AU all season as they’re 9-2 when they hold the opponent to less than 60 points but are 2-6 when they give up more than 60 points.
Dobbs, George key for AU in Patriot League play
Junior guard Alexis Dobbs has also been crucial for the Eagles, ranking first in the Patriot League in steals and assist-to-turnover ratio. She also ranks third in assists per game and 10th in scoring. In AU’s big victory over Army, Dobbs poured in a game-high 12 points and team-high three assists.
Perhaps more importantly, though, was her first half buzzer-beater 3-pointer to give the Eagles a 20-16 lead heading into the break. That three proved to be the difference in the game and was the only triple AU knocked down. Dobbs is also fourth in the conference in 3-point shooting.
In the Navy loss, the defense was helpless as the Midshipmen shot over 45 percent from the field and turned the ball over just 11 times, Dobbs also struggled shooting the ball, going 2-for-10 from the field, though she did dish out a game-high seven assists.
In the midst of Dobbs’ dominance, it can be easy to forget AU’s X-factor this season: junior guard Geleisa George. George, who comes off of the bench, is the Eagles’ third-leading scorer and a top-20 scorer in the Patriot League. She’s also fourth in field goal percentage and has the top free-throw mark in the conference.
Her ability to score proved to be crucial in AU’s win over Army as she scored 10 points and anchored the Eagles’ bench, which outscored Army’s bench, 24-4. George also hit an important go-ahead bucket with less than three minutes remaining in the game.
In their next matchup, AU travels to Easton, Penn., as they take on Lafayette (8-12, 1-4 PL ) Feb. 2 at 2 p.m. The Leopards are the Patriot League’s best shot-blocking team, as they reject nearly seven shots a game, which is two blocks more than next closest team Army.