On Guard

Any basketball player or casual fan would say guards are the key to a team – the players who start the offense and ignite the defense .

Guards control everything. A center or power forward may lead a team in scoring, but only because a guard feeds the ball into the post. A final play may be decided by the coaches on the sidelines, but it’s usually up to a guard to make it happen.

The GW women’s basketball team happens to have one of the best sets of guards in the nation. Chasity Myers, Marlo Egleston, Kristeena Alexander, Elisa Aguilar and Corrin Reid will be an integral part of GW’s play this season.

One reason GW’s backcourt is so solid is that all of them know their roles on the team extremely well.

“My favorite thing to do on the court is to complete a great assist,” Egleston said.

“I just love to set up my teammate with a good pass,” Reid said. “Leading the break and hitting Elisa or somebody from the wing so they can get an open shot always gives me pleasure.”

Because of great court vision and a sweet shot, Aguilar led the team in scoring last year with 17.2 points per game. However, head coach Joe McKeown expects her output to go down a little this year. He said the team will be a little more balanced because of two factors – a healthy Myers and the addition of transfer Alexander, the only new player on the squad. But Aguilar still is expected to put big numbers up every game in scoring and in other areas, including assists. She led the Colonial women with 4.9 assists per game last year.

Nagging injuries to both knees and ankles left Myers unable to practice after late December last year so that she could be at full strength for games.

“I’m pretty much healed now,” Myers said. “My ankle gets a little sore sometimes, but a lot of injuries take a long time to go away and this one’s no different.”

Myers found a way to put a positive spin on her injury. She now has a new zeal for practice and believes she’ll never again take it for granted or complain. Now healthy, her scoring average should rise from the 8.6 points per game it was last year and be a little closer to her freshman year average of 10.3 points per game. Myers was also third on the team in rebounding last year at 4.7, a high number for a guard. The A-10’s Defensive Player of the Year also may step up her pressure on the opposition’s offense.

Alexander is a sophomore who joined the Colonials as a transfer student from George Mason University after the fall 1997 semester. Because of NCAA rules, she will have to miss the first eight games of the year. Her first game will be Dec. 22 against Vanderbilt University. But Egleston and Reid give GW depth at guard.

“I’m willing to do whatever I can to help the team,” Egleston said. “I take whatever role the team and my coach give me.”

Egleston is a serious three-point threat (34.6 percent last season) and is a solid passer. She averaged three assists a game.

Reid believes the next step in improving her game and helping the team is to work on her shot.

“Noelia and Chasity are going to be double-teamed a lot this year, so I’m going to have to take the shot this year since I’ll be open,” Reid said.

Reid has shown her ability to shoot in the past. In the first round of last year’s NCAA Tournament against the University of Georgia, she hit a 15-foot jumper that gave GW the lead for good with just over 2 minutes remaining. Reid said that is her favorite moment in her career as a player.

All of the guards on the team agreed they have an excellent chance to do well in this year’s NCAA Tournament.

“If everybody’s healthy, we definitely have Final Four potential,” Myers said.

All of the guards also agreed they were somewhat disappointed with fan turnout last year. They believe that home-court advantage doesn’t really matter without fan support, and that it could be a key in major games, such as Virginia Tech, which beat GW three times last season.

“Midnight Madness was fantastic,” Reid said. “It really hyped me up to see all those people. I hope it stays like that all year.”

On GuardHt. Class ppg apg rpgElisa Aguilar 5-8 Jr. 17.2 4.9 3.0Chasity Myers 5-9 Jr. 8.9 2.0 4.7Marlo Egleston 5-7 Jr. 7.4 3.1 2.9Corrin Reid 5-10 So. 2.2 1.1 2.1Kristeena Alexander (at GMU) 5-6 So. 14.9 4.1 4.0

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