American University 56, Bucknell 48: Eagles bury Bison in second half
AU pushes past Bucknell with fans in attendance with a big second half effort
Senior Taylor Brown poured in 10 points to lead the Eagles in front of an announced crowd of 559 where there were seemingly as many pride flags as there were red, white and blue.
Junior Lauren Stack scored the first points for AU with a bucket inside. Senior Emily Fisher hit a driving layup to jump out to a 4-0 lead. Bucknell had little trouble getting the ball inside as Marly Walls scored the first of many buckets down low. Walls and Cecelia Collins ripped off a 3-2 run while senior Jade Edwards picked up an early foul as AU led 6-5 early.
Senior Maddie Doring checked in at the 3:15 mark for AU. Doring had an aggressive drive on her first touch and the AU crowd approved.
On her second shot, sophomore Ivy Bales finished a jumper at the buzzer to make the score 14-10 at the end of the first quarter. The AU crowd responded with cheers every time Bales did something impressive. Bales converted on a pull-up jumper halfway through the quarter, giving AU a five-point lead. She also grabbed a physical rebound, and the crowd cheered emphatically each time.
After finger-rolling her first shot, Edwards found a bit of rhythm to put AU up two after a reverse layup. Edwards was forced to sit with her second foul at 6:15 as her substitute sophomore Riley DeRubbo replaced her.
With the man-to-man defense providing little resistance, Emma Shaffer scored inside for Bucknell and a Collins layup had the Bison back up two, but sophomore Emily Johns got going on a made layup in the paint. Then, back-to-back Bucknell scores — with a DeRubbo three sandwiched in between — had Bucknell up two with 2:44 to go in the half.
Johns stayed hot, bringing AU within two on a layup after Fisher pushed the ball ahead. Yet Bucknell continued to score as Collins scored inside.
With the half winding down, AU went two-for-one and missed a three just four seconds into the shot clock with 96 ticks left in the half. This time it was Carly Krsul for the Bison — she responded with a wide-open layup from inside. Fisher quickly went the other way but turned the ball over just before the halftime buzzer sounded.
Bucknell went into the break with a 27-23 lead. Collins scored seven first-half points as Bucknell shot 12-27 from the floor and 2-10 from three. Edwards scored four points as AU finished the half 11-29 from the field and 1-7 from deep.
Out of the intermission, AU quickly cut the lead on a pair of Edwards free throws.
Then Fisher happened. She made a layup to tie the game, then backed down her defender on the perimeter, hesitated and nailed a jumper that swished through the net. Then she made another jumper to give AU a two-point lead, forcing Trevor Woodruff to call a timeout at the 7:22 mark.
AU never looked back from there. The Eagles began looking inside to Brown and she rewarded her teammates with a finish at the rim. Stack added another layup inside and Fisher scored again to make it 35-32. All the while, Bucknell looked out of sorts on offense as AU forced five early second-half turnovers, notably as Edwards got her hand in the passing lane leading to steals and points in transition.
Then it was Edwards’ turn. The Chicago native ripped off four straight points with a mid-range jumper and two made free throws to give AU a 42-34 lead that all but put Bucknell away.
Edwards picked up her third foul with 1:26 to play in the third quarter and DeRubbo came in for spot minutes, but holding an 8-point lead, the Bison failed to make a run at AU down the stretch.
Brown led AU with 10 points on 3-7 shooting and 4-4 from the line to go with five rebounds, two assists and two steals. Stack finished with nine points on 4-9 shooting. Bales also scored nine points while Fisher and Edwards both finished with eight.
AU shot 21-50 for the game and 2-9 from three. Bucknell finished 20-57 from the floor and 3-18 from three. AU had a 15-8 points off turnovers edge.