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Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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taylor brown women's bball

Taylor Brown’s basketball IQ offers Eagles an added element

Through incredible leadership and avid film study, AU’s star forward has developed more than just skilled offensive play

The way senior Emily Fisher views it, she has two coaches with the American University Eagles. One is the Eagles’ head coach Megan Gebbia and the other is her senior teammate, Taylor Brown.

“She’s always talking about what’s best for us in order to win,” Fisher said. “She’s always talking about things in the locker room during halftime. She’s always talking in the huddles at practice. She’s always involved and is someone that is a very apparent leader.”

Brown is known primarily for her all-around ability — she’s in the Patriot League’s top 20 in scoring, rebounds per game, steals per game and minutes. The Lakeville, Minnesota product is averaging 11.7 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.3 steals per game. The 6-foot-1 senior is also known for her high-flying finishes, her resilient defense and aggressive steals.

But what goes unnoticed is Brown’s basketball savvy and memory. Due to incredible leadership and avid film study, she is quite familiar with what every teammate is doing on the floor and what her opponents are running. Brown can be quick on the floor with the ball, but she is also known to be regularly composed to allow plays to develop for either herself or a teammate. 

“Most of the time, I consider myself a pass-first player,” Brown told The Eagle. “I like to read the help side. And, I can decide whether or not the weak side is going to be helping off the down-screens or the back-screens, but I usually try to throw it inside to get everyone involved.”

Fisher said she first realized Brown had a high basketball IQ while watching her in practice. Fisher said that it’s basketball intelligence that allows Brown to figure out how to score easier late in games and get to her spots on the court for offensive success.

“Her IQ is really apparent on the floor,” Fisher said. “She’s scoring, she’s boxing out, she does all the little things. She reads the ball really well and sees where it’s going.” 

Eagles play-by-play announcer Dan Laing said Brown has one of the best basketball IQ’s of any AU player he has been around in his 10 years with the team. Laing also said Brown plays with excellent pace in the games she plays in.

“The basketball IQ component is big and Taylor brings it,” Laing said. “It is evident, especially as she incorporates her teammates into the game plan. She always has a pretty good feel for the game, and the amount of rebounds and steals she gets speaks to how good her basketball IQ is.” 

Mark Brown, Taylor’s father, agreed. She has a competitive nature about her, he said.

Brown’s father said Taylor spent countless hours during her teenage years training on their basketball hoop, working on her ball-handling and shooting and improving her defense. But she was also working on her basketball brain, too.

“During her first-ever AAU experience, we went to play with a team and the team itself was not very good,” Mark Brown said. “Taylor had to do everything on that team, so that was a big step for her to become a pretty well-rounded basketball player.” 

But Mark Brown said he truly noticed that his daughter had a special basketball mind when Taylor’s Lakeville North High played in the state tournament in 2018. 

Mark Brown remembers his daughter going up against Minnesota’s Miss Basketball in the state tournament, and holding her own against the star-studded player.

Mark Brown says he and his daughter still discuss all the Eagles’ games afterward. Brown credited “a lot of film study” to assisting her basketball IQ. Her father says his daughter also watches opposing teams’ films to learn their offenses, how they may defend her and other characteristics.

This past year, Taylor began watching a lot of film and it has certainly paid off for the senior this season.

“She takes pride in understanding where everybody’s supposed to be on the court and she helps everyone around her,” Taylor’s mother, Rochelle Johnson-Brown, said.

It’s not uncommon for Brown and Gebbia to text each other throughout the day to break down something that happened in a game, come up with plays and chat about game plans. Gebbia has also pushed Brown to use her voice a lot more, which Fisher says her teammate is doing. 

“I have a great relationship with Coach Meg, it’s definitely grown as I’ve gotten older,” Brown said of Gebbia. “We’re always on the same page. I know what she’s looking at, what she’s focusing on, and that helps me relay the message to the team.”

Gebbia said that another part of Brown’s game that often goes unnoticed is her leadership skills. Gebbia said that the senior has had strong communication and positivity with her teammates this season and added that she’s “always on top of it.” 

Fisher said that Brown has spent time working with freshman guard Bailey Garbee.

“[Brown] emerged as one of our leaders last year with the pandemic,” Gebbia said. “She does want people to do well and better her teammates. It’s natural for her.”

Brown helped lead the Eagles to the Patriot League semifinals last season for the second consecutive year and is also competing to become the latest AU player to become an All-Patriot League Team member. If her scoring ability, all-around play and defensive prowess continue, she will likely be a member of the 2021-22 All-Patriot League Team. 

“She’s a multi-way level scorer,” Fisher said. “She can shoot the three, she plays in the post, she makes moves, she’s a strong-willed defender. But more importantly, she’s just super great to be around, she just brings a really great environment wherever she goes, no matter what.”

awalulik@theeagleonline.com


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