Colonial women escape with exhibition victory

GW got to practice holding a lead in the final seconds of a close game Wednesday night when Rossiyanka nearly beat the Colonial women in their final exhibition game of the season.

Playing without star forward Noelia Gomez, GW escaped with a 68-67 victory, nearly losing to a traveling team that has beaten a number of other Atlantic 10 teams this season.

With about 30 seconds to go, sophomore Elisa Aguilar drove the baseline with the help of a pick by Katarina Baskova. She made a layup, giving GW a 68-64 lead. Rossiyanka came back to make a three-point shot with 15 seconds left of play to cut the lead to one. The visitors weren’t able to complete their comeback, though.

GW was plagued all night by two post players who went outside to score their points. Olga Yakovenka and Yelena Nikopolskaya, who stand 6-1 and 6-2, respectively, combined for 48 points, mostly from the perimeter.

“It’s tough when you have post players who are always away from the basket,” said assistant coach Gabrielle Butler, who filled in for head coach Joe McKeown while he was in Philadelphia because of an illness in his family. “It is really difficult to match up. In the regular season we’ll see teams in the lane more and more dribbling.”

The Colonial women led 38-31 at the half after trailing several times in the first 20 minutes. GW went on a 13-2 run late in the half to secure breathing room, sparked by the play of Aguilar, who had 11 first-half points.

While GW’s up-tempo, full-court offense appeared solid, the team struggled slightly when it settled into a half-court offensive style.

“We made some great decisions full court, but in the half court we had some unforced errors,” Butler said. “We had some lineups out on the floor that haven’t really played together, so you expect that.”

Aguilar finished with 15 points to go along with eight assists, while Mandisa Turner led the Colonial women with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

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