The GW women’s basketball team is sitting on a bubble that is about to burst.
After losing a heartbreaker to Virginia Tech in the Atlantic 10 Tournament semifinals, the Colonial women (19-9) are going to need a little help from the selection committee to get an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament.
With the semifinal loss, GW will not appear in the A-10 final for the first time since the 1992-’93 season. The Colonial women have won two of the past three A-10 Tournaments.
Virginia Tech 73, GW 72Three crucial offensive foul calls against GW late in the game helped lift the Lady Hokies (20-9) to a narrow 73-72 victory over the Colonial women at Mullins Center in Amherst, Mass. Sunday night.
With GW trailing by two points with less than two minutes left in the game, sophomore guard Elisa Aguilar came to the top of the right arc and nailed a three-pointer that would have given GW a 67-66 lead.
The shot was waved off, though, and a moving screen was called on forward Noelia Gomez, who got tangled with Tech guard Amy Wetzel. Wetzel proceeded to hit two free throws to give Virginia Tech a 68-64 lead in what turned out to be a five-point swing.
Gomez then hit a three-pointer with 1:12 remaining to close the gap to 68-67, but on GW’s next possession Aguilar was called for a charge as she drove the right side.
After Tech hit one of its two free throws, forward Mandisa Turner was called for a moving screen on GW’s next possession. The Lady Hokies made two more free throws to take a 71-67 lead from which GW never recovered.
Aguilar led the Colonial women with 30 points, including five three-pointers, to go along with six steals. Gomez finished with 17 points and eight rebounds.
Virginia Tech, which advanced to the A-10 final game against Massachusetts, was led by Michelle Houseright’s 20 points.
GW 66, La Salle 51GW advanced to the semifinals of the A-10 Tournament by coasting to a 66-51 victory over La Salle (15-13) Thursday night at the Smith Center.
The Colonial women started putting the game out of reach at the end of the first half. The Explorers trailed by a point at 16-15 with just less than nine minutes left in the half. The Colonial women, though, closed out the half with an 18-2 run to take a 34-17 lead into halftime.
Aguilar, who led all scorers in the game with 21 points, keyed the run by scoring nine of GW’s first 10 points during that key stretch. After a baseline jumper and a three-pointer, Aguilar drove from the right three-point arc, sidestepped a player and made a pretty banked layup to give GW a 23-15 lead.
“She has a second gear that she doesn’t use all the time,” GW head coach Joe McKeown said. “Maybe she’s saving it for March, because when she really wants to get by somebody, almost no one can stop her.”
GW’s defense was also an important part of the run. La Salle hit just 22 percent of its shots in the first 20-minute session in what turned out to be its lowest point total for a half this season.
“We had a very difficult time making our shots tonight, although I thought we were getting a lot of very makeable shots, especially in the first half,” La Salle head coach John Miller said. “You’re just not going to beat a talented team like George Washington shooting 29 percent, pure and simple.”
La Salle was successful in keeping GW’s leading scorer, Noelia Gomez, in check on the offensive end, although she still ended up with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Sophomore guard Marlo Egleston stepped up to take some of the scoring load off Gomez and Aguilar with 12 points of her own, including three three-pointers in the second half.
“The teams we’ve been playing have been focusing on Noelia a lot, so we need to make outside shots to open up Noelia inside,” Egleston said. “There are times that the rest of us need to step up and make it a team effort and beat people as a team.”