The GW women’s basketball team is back in a familiar place.
After a pair of wins against La Salle and Duquesne, the Colonial women (17-7, 11-3 Atlantic 10) moved into sole possession of first place of the A-10 West Division.
With just two games left in the regular season, GW may have put itself into position to host the conference tournament because it now has the best record in the conference, a game ahead of St. Joseph’s and Duquesne.
GW 77, Duquesne 52GW head coach Joe McKeown said he hates to use clich?s, but after a lopsided victory over Duquesne Sunday afternoon at the Smith Center, one seemed appropriate.
“We made a statement today,” McKeown said. “We said we’re GW and that we’re still capable of winning the league.”
With the win the Colonial women moved out of a tie with Duquesne (18-6, 10-4 A-10) for the A-10 West Division lead.
Junior forward Noelia Gomez led GW with a game-high 24 points, while fellow Spaniard Elisa Aguilar recorded a double-double with 17 points, 10 assists and just one turnover.
GW won the game on defense, though. The Colonial women were able to hold three-time All-American Korie Hlede to 20 points, below her season average of 27.8 points per game.
“I thought (GW assistant) coach (Gabrielle) Butler had a great plan, and I have to give her credit,” McKeown said. “The main thing she tried to emphasize in our practice was to take away her three-pointers. We kept her off-balance – you’re not going to stop her completely.” Hlede was coming off a 42-point performance in a victory over Dayton Thursday and is the third highest scorer in the nation.
“She didn’t necessarily make the best offensive plays that she could have,” Duquesne head coach Dan Durkin said. “I think they made her work hard to get the ball, they played hard-nosed perimeter defense. She didn’t get a lot of clean looks.”
GW managed to keep the rest of the Lady Dukes at bay as well, as the entire Duquesne team shot just 33 percent from the field. GW’s defense also came up with 11 steals and 11 blocks, six by junior forward Mandisa Turner. McKeown noted the overall solid play he has been getting from players other than his two main scoring threats, Gomez and Aguilar.
“You’re not going to win championships with just two people,” McKeown said. “We’re getting good efforts from a lot of different players.”
Sophomore guard Marlo Egleston helped take some of the scoring load off GW’s two Spaniards. She scored 16 points for GW, including a perfect 8-for-8 from the free throw line.
“When I play I enjoy when all the team plays, not when they just focus on me or Elisa,” Gomez said. “Now everyone knows her role, and we’re playing together and not just focusing on Elisa and me.”
GW’s running game also started clicking against Duquesne, whereas it has sputtered at times this year. GW went on an 11-4 run with a number of transition baskets to close the first half and take a 36-24 lead into halftime. Aguilar capped the first 20 minutes by slashing through three defenders for a layup in the closing seconds.
Duquesne closed to within 12 points early in the second half, but never got any closer. GW was able to hold the Dukes to just nine points over the final 9:30 of the game.
GW 67, La Salle 53Four GW players scored in double figures, led by Noelia Gomez’s 20 points, in a victory over La Salle at the Hayman Center in Philadelphia Friday night.
GW led just 29-27 at halftime after the Explorers (12-12, 6-8 A-10) went on a 14-3 run to end the first half, but the Colonial women exploded with an 11-0 run to start the second half and took a commanding 40-27 lead.
Marlo Egleston and Elisa Aguilar had 14 and 13 points respectively for GW, and combined to hit five of seven three-point attempts. Mandisa Turner added a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
Carrie Jewett scored a career-high 21 points for La Salle.