After falling to North Carolina State University and the University of California-Santa Barbara, the Colonial women (2-3) had lost two consecutive games for the first time in almost a year.
The last time GW suffered back-to-back defeats was in early December of last season, when GW dropped games on the road to George Mason University and 16th-ranked Penn State University.
GW’s loss to American Wednesday night also marked the first time the Colonial women lost consecutive home games since the 1990-’91 season. GW lost to Penn State and then St. Joseph’s University in the finals of the Atlantic 10 Tournament in that season.
GW’s early season schedule strength is part of the reason why its record has been hovering around the .500 mark so far. Four of the Colonial women’s last three opponents have either been ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 Poll or have received votes.
Bad shooting also has plagued the Colonial women early in the season. The team failed to shoot better than 40 percent in two of its last three games.
“We’re close to being 5-0, but we’re only 2-3,” GW head coach Joe McKeown said. “We just have a lot of things we have to clean up and do better.”
American 71, GW 69
American guard Kari Gaskins got the ball at halfcourt with 9.9 seconds left in the game and hit a running jumper in the lane to break a 69-69 tie and give the Eagles a win over the Colonial women at the Smith Center Wednesday night.
GW got the ball back with six seconds remaining, but point guard Elisa Aguilar rushed a shot from midcourt with a few ticks left and GW lost for the second time in three games.
“For our program to beat a program of this stature, it is just a great win for our players,” American head coach Jeff Thatcher said.
After falling behind 65-60 late in the second half, GW was able to mount a 9-0 run to take 69-65 lead with 1:16 to go after Aguilar converted a three-point play. The Eagles (6-0) closed the gap to three with a free throw, and one possession later GW left Gaskins wide open for a three-pointer, which she made for three of her game-high 19 points.
“We gave American an early Christmas present,” McKeown said. “We got a three-point lead, and we give them a wide open three. We did things like that all game.”
GW took control of the game late in the first half. They built a 40-33 lead going into halftime and increased that lead to 11 points at 48-37. American went on an 11-2 run to narrow the gap to two points and went on to take the lead, thanks to several factors.
Noelia Gomez, GW’s second leading scorer this season, scored only 12 points and played just 20 minutes due to foul trouble, and, once again, GW suffered from poor shooting. The team shot fairly well in the first half, but GW made just 32 percent of its shots from the field and missed all nine of its three-point efforts in the second half.
“You’re not going to beat teams when your team is shooting 32 percent, especially when you can’t stop them on the other end, or if you put them at the foul line,” McKeown said. “We still could have overcome that tonight with a couple plays at the end, but our shooting right now is horrendous.”
Even though GW turned in a sub-par performance, American, to its credit, took advantage of the opportunities it was given. American often slowed GW’s momentum by drawing a large number of fouls, as the Eagles went to the free throw line 33 times and made 23.
American also took advantage of GW’s scoring drought in the second half by pushing the tempo.
“I think we got our running game going and got some transition points, probably based on our defense,” Thatcher said. “We started getting some rebounds and steals in the second half, and that got our transition game going.” Despite the fact that GW had a tremendous height advantage inside, GW only out-rebounded the Eagles 45-39.
GW sophomore guard Chasity Myers broke out of her scoring slump in the game with 17 points, while junior Mandisa Turner collected 13 points and 10 rebounds.
GW 78, UCLA 73
After a lackluster and low-scoring performance in the first half, the Colonial women found a groove and scored 53 second-half points to beat the Bruins (0-2) at Pauley Pavilion Friday.
GW shot just 25 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes of the game and trailed 26-25 at the half. Things turned around in the second half, though, as the Colonial women hit 19 of their 31 shots from the floor (61 percent).
Shortly after the second half began, GW put together a 13-0 run from which UCLA never fully recovered. Elisa Aguilar keyed the run, scoring nine consecutive points to start the half. Aguilar led GW with 22 points and five assists. Noelia Gomez and freshman Petra Dubovcova each added 14 points for the Colonial women, while sophomore guard Marlo Egleston chipped in with 11 points.
UCLA closed to within two points on several occasions in the second half, but never came back to take the lead.
UCSB 55, GW 52
GW had one of its worst shooting performances in recent memory in falling to UC-Santa Barbara at the Thunderdome Nov. 26.
GW’s shooting from the field was a horrible 31 percent, but UCSB outdid the Colonial women by hitting just 28 percent from the floor. The Colonial women were able to connect on just one of their five three-point shots and shot just 45 percent from the free throw line, including nine of 21 free throws in the second half.
GW took a slim 25-24 lead into halftime, but foul trouble and bad shooting eventually caught up with the team. Post players Noelia Gomez and Khadija Deas both fouled out of the game, and all five starters had accumulated at least four fouls by the game’s conclusion.
Elisa Aguilar led all GW scorers with 20 points, and Gomez poured in 19 points. GW’s two Spaniards were the only bright spots for the Colonial women, though, as no other GW player had more than seven points.