Most GW women’s basketball fans probably thought a Spaniard would lead the Colonial women in the 1997-’98 campaign.
They were right. But rather than Spaniard Noelia Gomez, an Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team selection a year ago, the Spaniard leader is first-year point guard Elisa Aguilar.
Aguilar scored 37 points Monday night at Duquesne University to lead the Colonial women (8-5, 3-1 A-10) to an 82-74 victory over the Lady Dukes.
“It was really fun to watch – it was amazing to watch,” GW head coach Joe McKeown said of Aguilar’s performance. “The more we let her do, it seems like the more she is capable of. She can probably play at all five positions if we let her.”
GW struggled through the first half, with Duquesne forging a 40-36 lead during the first 20 minutes. The Colonial women had a difficult time containing Duquesne’s star guard and three-time All-American Korie Hlede. She lit up GW for 29 points in the game. But McKeown said Aguilar, matched against Hlede, limited the Duquesne player’s scoring during the second half.
GW had to get by without Gomez down the stretch. She fouled out, limited to 24 minutes of playing time.
Behind the play of Aguilar, though, the Colonial women came back to outscore the Lady Dukes (11-3, 4-1) by 12 in the second half. Aguilar made 16 of 18 foul shots and hit three three-pointers – leading GW to victory over Duquesne, which previously had been undefeated in A-10 play. Sophomore Marlo Egleston chipped in with her best effort of the season with 17 points and five assists.
Aguilar, a 5-8 sophomore from Madrid, Spain, has sparked GW’s offense this season, which has struggled at times. As the starting point guard for the Colonial women, Aguilar leads the team in scoring with 17.8 points per game, including averaging 28.0 points in conference games. Aguilar also leads the team in minutes per game (33.9 minutes), three-pointers made (27), free throw percentage (92.8 percent), assists (67) and steals (43).
“She is so mentally tough,” McKeown said. “Basically, she has willed us to our last two victories with her play.”
McKeown said he feels that more than just Aguilar’s play has led to GW making it into the win column more frequently, including wins in six of its last eight games. The team, McKeown said, finally is beginning to gel halfway through the season.
“Our kids have done a great job rallying through adversity,” McKeown said of his team, which lost forwards Petra Dubovcova and Katarina Baskova to injury. “We are starting to learn from our mistakes, and we are learning to play together.”
The Colonial women return home Saturday to take on Virginia Tech at 2 p.m. While home wins have been nearly automatic for GW in recent years, the Colonial women have lost three of six games at the Smith Center this season.