American University 69, Navy 60: Eagles pull away in second half
It wasn’t pretty, but AU edged Navy to move to 12-6 on the season
The American University women’s basketball team saw a double-digit first-half deficit slowly go away as the Navy Midshipmen started missing layup after layup. But AU also pounded the ball inside and forced more turnovers to pull away and win 69 - 60 over Navy Saturday.
What was clear early on however was the size advantage that the Eagles had over the Midshipmen. Navy didn’t have a player on the floor over 6-foot-1 the entire game. That allowed AU to dominate the glass and paint early to narrow a Navy lead. Nearly all of AU’s initial points came in the paint. The Eagles eventually finished with 14 first-half points in the paint.
The lack of deep shooting from AU helped Navy pack in the defense without much fear from the Midshipmen perimeter defenders to cover the arc. As a result, AU started 4-16 from the floor after the first ten minutes of the game.
What also defined the game early for both teams was sloppy play. Each team had four turnovers after 10 minutes, and AU was once again having a few problems dealing with a zone team. Luckily for AU, Navy wasn’t turning the turnovers into offense, only getting two points off turnovers as opposed to four for AU after the first quarter.
But, Navy wouldn’t stay quiet from three for long. By the end of the half, Navy finally capitalized on some turnovers and nailed three threes. The Eagle offense went dormant as AU continued to struggle with shooting and turnovers. Both teams had nine first-half turnovers. However, the four layups from AU trimmed an initial 10-point deficit to a 29-25 halftime lead for the Midshipmen.
A worrisome problem for AU was that Navy continued to shoot the ball well from three, but the Eagles cut the Midshipmen lead to as low as two as AU continued to find open looks inside.
What turned for the Eagles was a refocused attack on the inside once again. The ball finally found the hands of seniors Emily Fisher and Taylor Brown more often as the duo continued to take advantage of the size disadvantage against Navy.
The big stretch came from a personal 6-0 run from senior Maddie Doring. She finally broke the AU shooting drought with two buckets from range. Doring turned it on in the second half, finishing with 9 second-half points and 9 points overall.
In the second half AU massively cut down on the turnovers. Navy had 5 second-half turnovers compared to AU’s three. That helped the Eagles hold the Midshipmen to 42.6 percent field goal percentage.
It got hairy at times for AU, but eventually, the defense stepped up and a refocused offensive attack brought home the win for the Eagles.
AU will face Lafayette in its next matchup on Tuesday at 6 p.m. EST and will be streamed on ESPN+.