Solid defense keys quarterfinal win for GW women

One of the keys to the GW women’s basketball team’s 66-51 victory over La Salle Thursday was its strong defensive play, led by junior forward Mandisa Turner’s record eight blocks.

Turner’s blocks were the most ever by a Colonial woman in an A-10 Tournament game and the second most by a player in an A-10 Tournament game. She leads the team and the conference with a total of 40 blocks this season.

GW held La Salle to 17 points in the first half, the Explorers’ season low for points scored in a half.

“The last six or seven minutes I thought we really locked them up on defense, they didn’t get many open shots,” GW head coach Joe McKeown said.

The first half ended with 11 unanswered points by the Colonial women. La Salle finished shooting 21.9 percent from the field in the first half and 29 percent for the game.

“Our defensive effort was pretty solid for most of the game,” McKeown said.

The Colonial women displayed their signature defensive play, forcing shot clock violations, turnovers and bad shots.

“They really get all over you, they really deny the ball and they really get in your face,” La Salle head coach John Miller said. “We often have a difficult time running our offense against GW’s defense because they do play such terrific defense. I think they play the best defense in the conference.”

GW’s defense is bolstered by A-10 Defensive Player of the Year Chasity Myers, the first Colonial woman ever to capture that award. She usually is assigned the task of guarding the opposing team’s best player.

Myers, who came away with one steal against the Explorers, played just 24 minutes in the game and does not practice because of continuing problems with sore knees and ankles.

The entire team collected a total of eight steals. Guards Marlo Egleston and Elisa Aguilar came away with three apiece.

Khadija Deas, who had two blocks against La Salle, went into the game fourth in the conference in blocks, averaging 0.95 per game.

GW leads the conference in the number of blocks per game and also in defensive field goal percentage and turnover margin.

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