American University up to 17-8 with a 64-45 win over Lehigh

After a 8-0 run in the second half, AU never looked back

American University up to 17-8 with a 64-45 win over Lehigh

American University women’s basketball came out with a 64-45 victory against Lehigh when the final buzzer sounded after a crushing defeat against Army.

Senior Emily Fisher led AU in scoring with 12 points. The Eagles were offensively solid, finishing 43 percent from the field on 25-58 shooting.

AU got right to it at the hands of a Fisher pass to sophomore Ivy Bales for a layup off the glass in the first 45 seconds of the game. AU fired right back with back-to-back made free throws from senior Jade Edwards and Fisher after giving up two three pointers, tying the game at 8-8. 

After giving up a layup, AU brought the heat to the Mountain Hawks, dominating inside the paint. Fisher scored inside and Edwards got a layup to tie the game up 12-12 heading into the first time out of the game.

AU went scoreless for almost two minutes after the timeout, and Lehigh scored to go ahead 14-12. Until sophomore Emily Johns connected on a bucket inside the arc, but Lehigh continued making big shots. Lehigh’s Megan Walker answered with her first make of the night to give the Mountain Hawks a 16-14 lead. 

After Johns rolled off a screen she hit a three pointer to retake the lead, and sophomore Riley DeRubbo made her first bucket of the night. AU brought in sophomore Kayla Henning off the bench coming out of a timeout to give Fisher her first rest of the night. The energy of the AU home crowd helped the Eagles to a 4-0 scoring run and a 23-18 lead following an Edwards layup.

Following the end of the first quarter, Walker quickly converted on a layup inside the paint. AU came right back, nailing a layup and extending their lead to five points. Emma Grothaus narrowed the gap with a layup, with AU still leading 25-22. 

Edwards attempted to keep the Eagles on top in the game, draining a shot and then making another layup, drawing contact in the process. She also hit a free throw, extending AU’s lead to 35-29 with 1:32 left in the half. 

AU shot 53.5 percent on 15-28 from the field in the first half led by Edwards’ 11 points while the Mountain Hawks shot 42.3 percent on 11-26 shooting led by freshman Mackenzie Kramer’s 8 points on 2-3 shooting from distance.

AU entered with a 8-0 run to open the second half, reigniting the AU home crowd. Bales made a layup and jumper. Fisher made another layup and to cap it off a senior Taylor Brown layup, giving the Eagles a 45-29 lead barely three minutes into the third quarter.

Lehigh fired back with a 5-1 run, but senior Maddie Doring amplified the home crowd after making a three, as AU still led 49-34 with 3:34 to play.

Following a Lehigh turnover, Fisher made another layup, giving AU a 17-point lead and her 12th point of the game. Following a freshman Ella Stemmer three, DeRubbo made her third bucket of the contest, extending AU’s lead to 17. 

Bales then connected on a layup. After two Mountain Hawk misses, Johns and Doring each converted from the free throw line to put AU up 60-37 with 5:52 left in the game.

After two Mountain Hawk buckets, freshman Bailey Garbee made her first basket of the contest to put AU up 19 with three minutes to play. 

Johns then hit a layup putting AU up 64-43 with two minutes left in the game, ultimately winning the contest. 

Jade Edwards knows the stakes

Edwards came through for AU in important moments. She made a pivotal layup to put the Eagles up five with 1:22 to go in the first quarter, and another Edwards layup gave AU a three point lead with 1:59 to play in the second quarter. With 1:32 remaining and AU clinging to a three point lead. Edwards made a jumper from the post to make it a five point game. 

“We were in control of the tempo most of the game, and that’s huge against a team that can go off on you real fast,” head coach Megan Gebbia said after the game. “Our seniors stepped up for the most part, I would say that they understood what we were trying to accomplish today, they understood the shots we wanted to take and the type of defense we needed to play to win.”

Edwards scored 11 points on 4-8 shooting, including 3-3 from the line to go with nine boards. She’s been on a tear of late, coming off a 13 point outing against Army on 5-12 shooting. 

While Edwards has rebounded well all season, her improved playmaking has been an important development in AU’s last four wins. 

“Focusing on defense helps a lot,” Edwards said postgame. “Having two games at home helps a lot so we can get into a rhythm. But it’s really taking it one game at a time.” 

Emily Fisher handled the pressure and found her seniors

On a night when Lehigh brought relentless pressure and picked up full-court, Fisher handled the pressure with poise. She had one turnover in 25 minutes and was dealing in the half-court. She found Johns underneath for a layup. She found Doring on the perimeter for a pair of open threes. She set up DeRubbo for a left-wing three. 

Fisher has developed a nice connection with her senior teammates. The multiple seniors have connected time and again this season and very rarely does it go poorly when Fisher is given the ball at the top. 

“Fisher controlled the pace again, she knew when to attack and when not to attack,” Gebbia said. “She has six assists and 12 points, that’s what you want from your point guard. I just love how she’s playing and how she’s commanding the floor.” 

awalulik@theeagleonline.com

Never miss a story

Get our weekly newsletter delivered right to your inbox.

More from The Eagle

Would you like to support our work? Donate here to The Eagle Innovation Fund.