Women’s basketball surges late to sweep Loyola on the back of junior trio
Edwards, Brown and Fisher carry Eagles on national television
The American University women’s basketball team (5-3) wrapped up their weekend series with Loyola (0-10) on Sunday afternoon with a 62-52 win and completed the season sweep in a nationally-televised game.
Following yesterday’s late-game thriller, Sunday’s matchup featured a dominant fourth quarter from the Eagles where they pulled together a 22-11 run in the final 10 minutes. The quarter included a block from senior guard Indeya Sanders, which shifted the momentum in the Eagles’ favor, as well as back-to-back 3-pointers from junior guard Jade Edwards and sophomore forward Karla Vres, which extended the final lead to 10 points.
Sunday’s game also saw the Eagles shoot 47.8 percent from the field, and 75 percent (12-16) of their free throws. Conversely, Loyola gave points away at the line, only making nine of 16 attempts. The Greyhounds were led by senior forward Isabella Therien, with 16 points and 10 rebounds, until she fouled out of the game with 1:40 remaining.
“I thought our defense in the first half was a little suspect in the sense of not being aggressive, and we've been working on being a little bit tighter and forcing turnovers more,” head coach Megan Gebbia said. “We got there closer to the second half, later in the game, but it was nice to have three people in double-digits. The scoring was really just read through the starting five, honestly, and it was enough to win today.”
Leading the way was Edwards with her third double-double of the season and ninth of her career with a game-high 25 points and 10 rebounds. Following was junior forward Taylor Brown, who achieved her second consecutive career-high scoring performance with 16 points, along with three assists, two steals and four rebounds. Brown’s effectiveness around the rim proved to be vital down the stretch and throughout the game.
“It just seemed like we gained confidence as the game went on. And again, anytime you’re trying to play a team multiple times, they shut different things down and you have to find different ways to score,” Gebbia said. “This group did a nice job of that today. We made a couple of adjustments on offense, and they were able to make those.”
Attributing to the adjustments was the return of junior point guard Emily Fisher. In her first weekend back after not playing since Jan. 16 due to a concussion, Fisher finished Sunday’s game with 38 minutes and 12 points. Her ability to calmly run the offense and control the game was an influence throughout, creating space and quality shot-opportunities.
“It feels great to be back given it's been nearly six weeks, it was good to be back with the team on the court and even just being on the warm up and everything,” Fisher said. “Loyola really stepped up and tried to take the ball away from [Edwards], so I feel like our team did really well in moving the ball and people got different touches and different looks so I think it was good.”
AU will look forward to Wednesday's game against Navy with a chance to win the South Division and secure a playoff spot. Tipoff is 6 p.m. from Bender Arena.