With an unusual 11:45 a.m. tip-off for the GW women's basketball game against Massachusetts, the Minutewomen may have hoped to catch the Colonials sleeping on the road after GW's first conference win last Sunday. But the Colonials were ready to go bright and early Wednesday, getting their first conference win of the season with a 64-54 victory over UMass.
The win marks GW's (5-14, 2-4 Atlantic 10) first set of consecutive wins since the Colonials opened the season with a victory on the road against North Texas followed by a win at home against Coppin State. After opening the season 2-0, GW proceeded to lose 14 out of 15 until its win Sunday against La Salle. Now with a 2-4 conference record, The Colonials have climbed out of the basement of the Atlantic 10 and are attempting to turn around what is still a young conference season.
"Going through an eight-game losing streak and then turning around and going through a five-game losing streak after one win, that's enough to destroy any aspirations that a young group like this has," head coach Mike Bozeman said of his team's struggles so far.
"When you think about all that stuff, and you turn around and have two straight wins, and one on the road and it's in-conference, just imagine what those losses had the potential to do to us," Bozeman continued. "Now they have the opposite potential as it comes to winning the second game in a row in conference."
For the second straight game, GW was led in scoring by a player setting a new career high. Freshman guard Megan Nipe scored a personal-best 18 points for the Colonials, making eight of 12 shots. Another first-year player, redshirt freshman Brooke Wilson, had a strong showing for GW, tallying a double-double grabbing 10 rebounds to go with her own career-high of 12 points. Sophomore Tiana Myers had 17 points to round out GW's high scorers.
Bozeman said after the game he was especially happy for Nipe, who has fought injuries in her first season in Foggy Bottom.
"That young lady has been through so much," Bozeman said. "To come back from reconstructive knee surgery in the short period of time she did, and then to fight through all these practices and these losses and all the pain she goes through night in and night out, that's a great pleasure for me to see her get off the schnide and hit the shots she's used to hitting. That brings me great joy."
After a slow start through nonconference play, GW now seems to be heating up at the right time. After a game this weekend on the road against a middle-of-the-pack Saint Joseph's team, the Colonials will square off at home against conference-leading and No. 10/10 Xavier (AP, ESPN/USA Today). Even with a daunting upcoming schedule, Bozeman feels his team is ready to compete.
"All these games, this string of games right now, I think we're armed to be able to go in and get wins," Bozeman said. "The whole season I've been asking for patience and sticking with these girls, they're going to give us 110-percent effort, and I just hope that our loyal GW fans see that and continue to support us."
Saturday's game at Saint Joseph's is scheduled for 2 p.m.