Exhausted from a two-game road trip, the GW women’s basketball team made up for poor shooting with strong defensive play to escape with a 55-39 victory against George Mason University Monday.
Continuing their unusual sub-par play at home, the Colonial women (12-6, 6-2 Atlantic 10) shot a dismal 33 percent for the game and hit just 24 percent of their shots in the first half. Point guard Elisa Aguilar, the team’s leading scorer with 17.0 points per game, shot 0-9 from the field and was shut out by the Patriots (9-10).
Also struggling from the floor was forward Noelia Gomez, who hit just five of her 25 shot attempts but managed her second consecutive double-double. Gomez had 10 rebounds to go with 17 points.
Forcing 25 turnovers and giving up a season-low 39 points, GW’s defensive effort made up for its poor offense. Sophomore guard Chasity Myers hustled for four of the team’s 14 steals.
“Defensively I thought we did everything we wanted to do,” GW head coach Joe McKeown said. “It’s a sign of a good team when you don’t shoot very well and can lock the other team out on defense.”
Instead of playing zone defense, McKeown made the decision to play man-to-man to stop the Patriots’ three-point threats. The Colonial women were successful and allowed just one Patriot basket from beyond the three-point arc.
That three-pointer tied the game at 21-21 five minutes into the second half. The Patriots stayed close behind the play of forward Trish Halpin, who scored 11 points but never captured the lead. A 21-7 second-half run, capped by sophomore guard Marlo Egleston’s three-pointer, allowed GW finally to pull away. Egleston finished with 11 points.
“I thought Marlo played a great floor game for us,” McKeown said. “She really stepped up with Elisa struggling.”
Forward Mandisa Turner scored six straight points during the key GW run. “She gave us a little spark,” McKeown said. In her first game after missing two games with an ankle sprain, Turner scored eight points in 19 minutes coming off the bench.
With three players out with injuries, freshman Corrin Reid played 18 minutes, contributing five points and three assists.
“She brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm, she really pumps people up,” McKeown said of Reid. “Athletically she can do what other players can’t do.”
Freshman Petra Dubovcova is out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, sophomore Katarina Baskova is out with an ankle sprain, and junior center Khadija Deas is sidelined with an injured left knee.
Freshman center Leslie Carlson also has seen more playing time because of the injuries to GW post players. Carlson started at center and had four points in 22 minutes.
The first half was sluggish as shots did not fall for either team. The two teams headed to the locker room at halftime with GW leading 19-14.
“We were really tired, it’s no excuse,” McKeown said. “I’m not using that as a crutch but we were exhausted.”
The Colonial women will rest up for two big games this week. GW travels to Virginia Tech Thursday and will host A-10 East Division leader St. Joseph’s Sunday in a nationally-televised game on ESPN2. St. Joe’s defeated GW in an upset win in the A-10 Championship game a year ago.