The GW women’s basketball team is preparing for a season that could bring them national attention – head coach Joe McKeown has his entire NCAA Tournament team from last year back and ready to compete at the next level.
At the heart of this season’s journey for the Colonial women is the “Spanish Connection” of senior forward Noelia Gomez and junior guard Elisa Aguilar.
A versatile athlete, Gomez has had a strong career at GW, averaging 17.3 points and 6.6 rebounds a game. She was an honorable mention all-America last season and was named the team’s most valuable player. Gomez is an extremely mobile player, making her difficult to compete against. Currently, Gomez is nursing a strained left knee, but McKeown said she will be ready to play in a couple of weeks.
“She’s broken every two-year scoring record we’ve ever had here,” McKeown said. “She’ll be back by the end of November.”
Elisa Aguilar, one of the nation’s most talented guards, was named the Atlantic 10 Co-Rookie of the Year as a sophomore, averaging 19.2 points and five assists per game in conference play. An intense, fearless competitor, Aguilar is expected to be a great court leader for GW this season.
“She doesn’t make many bad decisions,” McKeown said. “Elisa has a great floor sense.”
Gomez and Aguilar have had many accomplishments individually: Gomez became the fastest GW player to score 1,000 points, and Aguilar’s 85.7 percent free-throw percentage was among the national leaders last season.
Both Gomez and Aguilar have played on the Spanish national team, have been honored for their tremendous athletic ability and are expected to continue their consistent production offensively and defensively. Most importantly, they share a great passion for their team and a clear understanding of their leadership roles.
“I have to try to give experience and help the younger players,” Gomez said. “I have to be a role model.”
Aguilar acknowledged Gomez’s strong influence on her and the rest of the team.
“She’s an important player and she does everything really well,” Aguilar said. “She runs, jumps and helps everyone.”
McKeown knows his team has the potential to go far this year, and he is quick to point out the importance of the experience and competitiveness of Gomez and Aguilar.
“Noelia carried us last year,” he said. “She played and performed well against double-teams all year. She’ll get healthy and get her 15 to 20 points a game.”
As for Aguilar, who is an all-American and A-10 Player of the Year candidate, McKeown said his team looks to her more now as a leader.
“Elisa is one of the premier guards in the nation,” McKeown said. “She has a lot to give.”
Gomez said Aguilar can make the team play at a higher level, and both said their goal is to reach the NCAAs.
“We play to win but it’s not easy,” Aguilar said. “We have to work.”
But both McKeown and Gomez expressed the importance of taking the season one game at a time. Once GW gets everyone healthy and focused, McKeown thinks his team could compete with anybody in the nation.
The two standouts from Madrid are far from home, but they should have an exciting ride in Foggy Bottom this season.
“The people are very nice,” Aguilar said, smiling at Gomez. “This is home.”
The Spanish Connection
6-3 Forward Senior Madrid
Preseason Honorable Mention all-American
Honorable Mention all-American
unanimous A-10 All-Conference first team
6 rpg – led team
first ever to score 1,000 points in two seasons at GW
A-10 Conference Rookie of the Year
A-10 All-Conference second team
17.5 ppg – fourth in A-10
7 rpg – ninth in A-10
52.6% fg pct. – second in A-10
5-8 Guard Junior Madrid
A-10 Conference Co-Rookie of the Year
A-10 All-Conference second team
17.2 ppg – led team, fifth in the A-10
4.9 apg – led team
85.7% ft pct.