Both the GW men’s and women’s basketball teams will play in the Smith Center this week, the last time either squad will play at home until Jan. 24.
The Colonials will face Dayton at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, while the Colonial women host Duquesne Friday at 7 p.m.
Dayton comes crawling into town to face the men’s team after getting drubbed by Rhode Island 78-56 Sunday. Led by 6-4 sophomore guard Tony Stanley, the Flyers (7-6, 2-1 Atlantic 10) look to recover against the Colonials.
GW, Dayton and Xavier shared the Atlantic 10 West Championship last season. But a big part of Dayton’s success did not return for this season’s campaign when 6-7 Ryan Perryman graduated. Perryman holds the Atlantic 10 record for rebounds per game in a career (10.4).
Perryman is replaced by 6-10 junior Mark Ashman, who shares the team lead in rebounds (5.4 per game), and leads the team in blocked shots (one per game), and field goal percentage (47.7 percent). Ashman is also second on the team in scoring with 14.6 points per game.
But Stanley has been the keystone for Dayton this season. He has paced the Flyers early on this season, leading them in scoring (15.9 points per game), steals per game (2.2) and shares the lead in rebounds per game with Ashman.
The Flyers run a basic motion offense and shoot more than 18 three pointers per game. GW will look for turnovers, but might find it difficult. Although Dayton averages more than 15 turnovers per game, the Flyers turned the ball over only 10 times against Rhode Island. Dayton struggled on offense against the Rams, seldom finding an open shot, and sinking only 19 buckets in the game. Stanley shot only four of 17 from the floor.
GW sophomore forward Antxon Iturbe will have a 30-pound advantage over opposing forward Coby Turner and 25 pounds over Ashman. The Flyers only true big body, junior center Stephen Bamigbola at 240 pounds, plays just under 10 minutes per game.
GW forward Yegor Mescheriakov is coming off a 22-point performance against La Salle, and Dayton’s play against the Rams may bode well for a similar performance Thursday. The Flyers had trouble handling Rhode Island inside-outside forward Lamar Odom, who scored 26 points and collected 11 rebounds.
GW (8-4, 2-0 A-10) heads into Thursday’s game against Dayton on a four-game winning streak, its longest of the season.
The GW women will take on a backsliding squad from Duquesne (8-6, 1-3 A-10). After rattling off wins in their first seven games, the Lady Dukes have lost six of their last seven, including an 81-59 drubbing at the hands of Xavier Jan. 2.
The biggest problem this season has been coping with the loss of Korie Hlede, an All-American for Duquesne who is a standout in the WNBA. With Hlede’s graduation, the Lady Dukes lost 27.1 points per game, but junior guard LynnDee Howell has stepped up to average 19.3 points per contest after averaging just eight a game last year.
One of the key problems for Duquesne will be GW forward Noelia Gomez, who is averaging 17.9 points per game. Duquesne does have four players who are 6-2 or taller to throw at Gomez on defense. But the game might be won in the backcourt. Both teams often start and stay with a three-guard set, or at least a shorter and quicker lineup. GW will most likely start Elisa Aguilar, who averages 17.6 points per game, Kristeena Alexander at point guard and the 5-10 Starr Jefferson at small forward, with guards Marlo Egleston and Chasity Myers coming off the bench for important minutes. Duquesne will most likely counter with three guards – Howell, Kelly Eberhardt (14.1 ppg) and Sherri Hannan.
History is on GW’s side. The Colonial women have won 28 of the 32 contests in the all-time series between the two teams, including the last 10 games. That streak dates back to 1994. GW also never has lost to the Lady Dukes at the Smith Center, posting a perfect record of 14-0.
Both GW teams take to the road after Friday. The men will begin a three-game road trip that includes stops at Xavier, St. Bonaventure and Rhode Island, while the women visit Fordham next week.