Villanova only led once in Sunday’s WNIT second-round game, but the Wildcats wouldn’t seem to go away. Until, that is, magic number 70 did it again for the Colonials.
After going 21-0 this season when scoring 70 or more points, GW pulled away Sunday after sophomore Jonquel Jones’ free throw made it 70-62. From there, it was all desperate fouls from Villanova and made free-throws for GW, giving the Colonials a 76-66 victory.
“I think you look at that at the beginning of the game, and you know that if you’re in that [70-point] range you’re more in our type of tempo then you are playing in a Villanova-kind-of-pace game,” head coach Jonathan Tsipis said. “Villanova, besides obviously being a very good team, is very hard to prepare for because they just play a very different style.”
GW's season will continue in a third-round WNIT game against South Florida in Tampa, Fla. on Thursday.
In Philadelphia on Sunday, the Colonials dominated the boards 52-31, led by Jones, who grabbed 11. The Colonials outscored the Wildcats 18-11 in second-chance points and had four players finish in double figures in scoring, led by 19 points from graduate student Danni Jackson.
GW's rebounding has helped carry the team to success, but despite out-rebounding the Wildcats by five in the first half, Jones and freshman Caira Washington were without an offensive rebound.
“Before the second half started, coach Tsipis pulled us two in and he told us that we didn’t have any offensive rebounds and he challenged us to get on the boards and work harder to try to get those rebounds,” Jones said. “That was one of the biggest things that helped us to be more aggressive.”
Tsipis’ intervention worked, as the tandem of Jones and Washington would end up with seven combined offensive rebounds in the second half.
“You get an offensive rebound, you will get a high, high percentage shot and it will be a knife in Villanova’s side,” Tsipis said.
Those high-percentage shots helped GW avoid falling into a one-possession game, although Villanova kept hanging around.
Both teams would struggle shooting the ball, the Colonials at 39.1 percent and the Wildcats at 37.9. Katherine Coyer paced Villanova’s offense with 15 points off 2-4 shooting from beyond the arc.
While the Wildcats nailed eight three-pointers, they were unable to get into a real offensive groove and were thrown off balance by GW’s size.
“I don’t think they strung threes together. They obviously hit some throughout the game, but I didn’t feel like that part of where it can be really deflating when they hit a couple in a row,” Tsipis said. “I don’t think we ever went through an offensive lull.”
Along with Jackson’s 19 points, Jones scored 16 and junior Chakecia Miller and graduate student Megan Nipe each scored 13. Both Jackson and Miller would also add six assists.
With the exception of two points from sophomore Alexis Chandler, all of GW’s scoring came from the starting five and “super-sub” Megan Nipe. Tsipis kept other players on the bench to focus on individual match-ups that would limit the Wildcats' productivity.
“We never really got nervous or anything, we were really mellow and just executed the game plan,” Jackson said.