American University 69, George Mason 61: Eagles hold off Patriots in second half

AU survived a first half scare against GMU and ultimately put away the Patriots in the second

American University 69, George Mason 61: Eagles hold off Patriots in second half
Senior Jade Edwards was recently named the Preseason Player of the Year.

The American University Eagles pulled through with a victory on Tuesday night against the George Mason University Patriots inside Bender Arena 69-61.

AU struggled to defend the paint in the first half, but strengthened in the second half to move to 3-2.

Senior Taylor Brown got going for AU early with a quick bucket and senior Jade Edwards made her defensive presence felt with a block and a forced turnover, but the Eagles fell into an early 4-9 deficit by the first media timeout. 

On the other end, GMU’s senior Amaya Scott started 4-6 as AU’s interior defense struggled to get stops. Rebounding proved difficult in the early going and AU allowed four offensive rebounds in the first quarter, yet still held a 14-13 lead at the end of the quarter.

Throughout the second quarter, the Eagles and Patriots traded baskets. GMU freshman Paula Suárez connected on a 3-pointer and a converted and-1 from Scott gave the Patriots a 21-20 lead. Edwards scored on a pair of free throws the ensuing possession and AU went up 22-21 with 6:15 remaining in the second quarter. 

AU took control and turned the game around with a 12-6 run as sophomore Emily Johns scored twice, Brown scored on a long-distance three and Edwards made a high-flying, contact layup, but Johns had a turnover on what would’ve been one of AU’s final possessions of the half.

The turnover gave GMU another opportunity and Scott hit a mid-range jumper to cut the Patriots deficit to 34-27 going into the break. GMU shot 10-26 from the field in the first half and out-rebounded AU 17-13. 

AU came out of the half looking like a completely different team. The defense tightened up and Brown and senior Emily Fisher connected on back-to-back jumpers to initiate a 7-2 run. GMU made one final push to get back in the game with their dominant interior play to cut AU’s lead down to four, but sophomore Riley DeRubbo answered for AU and a Stack score boosted the team’s lead back to nine at 60-51 with 6:20 remaining. AU never looked back after that.

Down the stretch, Edwards and DeRubbo carried the offense to help keep the Patriots at bay. DeRubbo scored on a left-handed layup in traffic while Edwards hit a contested layup and was fouled on a drive a few plays later. She made two and gave AU a 67-56 lead with 24 seconds left, securing the win.

Head coach Megan Gebbia made no changes to her season-long starting lineup, deciding to go with Fisher, senior Maddie Doring, Edwards, Brown and junior Lauren Stack.

Edwards led AU in scoring with 25 points to go along with 9 rebounds and 3 assists. Brown had 13 points on 4-10 shooting. Emily Fisher and Riley DeRubbo had 9 points each. 

AU shot 51.1 percent from the floor and 33.3 percent (5-15) from three, ultimately shooting efficiently. GMU shot 45.1 percent from the floor and 27.3 percent from three, giving in to AU’s defensive pressure. 

AU will face UMBC in its next home matchup on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. ET and will be streamed on ESPN+.

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