Turnovers can completely shift the momentum of a game. Turnovers can halt opposing runs and start one of your own. Turnovers can make a coach pull his hair out and earn someone a quick spot on the bench.
But turnovers are also the reason the AU women’s basketball team (12-9, 5-2 PL) sit second in the Patriot League standings halfway through the conference season.
In comparison to the rest of the league, the Eagles are average in nearly every category from field goal percentage and blocks to rebounds and assists. They don’t score too many points, they give up a fair amount of points, and they aren’t particularly good from beyond the arc.
But one thing AU does do a good job of is forcing turnovers — something they rank first in the Patriot League.
The Eagles record about eight or nine steals each game and have the best turnover margin in the conference. AU is one of just three Patriot League teams who force more turnovers than they commit, and they are above and beyond the rest of the conference in the turnover margin.
One of the biggest reasons the Eagles are so successful in the turnover battle is because of junior guard Alexis Dobbs. Dobbs ranks first in the Patriot League in steals with over two a game and takes care of the ball extremely well, proven by her assist-to-turnover ratio that ranks as the best in the conference. Junior guard Geleisa George also ranks in the Patriot League top-ten in steals.
Despite their tough 49-47 loss at Lafayette (10-12, 3-4 PL) Feb. 2, the turnover battle is what gave AU its lead for a large portion of the game. They forced nearly twice as many turnovers as they committed and scored 14 points off of turnovers while Lafayette scored just five.
George recorded a game-high five steals in the loss in Easton, Penn. while also chipping in six points in just 20 minutes of play. The Eagles’ Jan. 30 win over Bucknell (13-9, 4-3 PL ) had a similar storyline as they forced 24 turnovers and scored twice as many points off of turnovers than the Bison did.
Sitting one game back from Navy (13-9, 6-1 PL), AU enters the second half of Patriot League play with a Feb. 9 game versus Colgate (6-15, 0-7 PL) in Hamilton, N.Y. at 4 p.m.