The GW women’s basketball team didn’t know what to expect from Rhode Island.
The Rams came into the game with an 0-13 Atlantic 10 record, but URI’s previous game was a two-point loss against highly ranked Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va.
Lackluster play from GW and a gritty performance from URI made for a neck-and-neck game, which the Colonial women won 68-60. The win moved GW a game ahead of Xavier in second place in the A-10 West Division. The top two teams in the division will get a bye in the first round of the A-10 Tournament in Philadelphia Feb. 26-28.
The Rams (4-20, 0-14 A-10) cut GW’s lead to 41-40 with 11:17 remaining in the second half. Corrin Reid was charged with a technical foul – her fifth personal – following a sequence in which she slammed the ball down after being called for a reaching-in foul. GW was fortunate that URI’s Dena Cocchiola missed the front end of the one-and-one and Amber Jansen connected on just one of her two technical free-throw attempts, narrowing the Colonial women’s lead to one point.
A few minutes before fouling out, Reid made a dazzling play. With 13:30 left in the game, Reid made a steal on the defensive end and passed to Marlo Egleston, who returned the favor with a no-look dish to a streaking Reid who made the layup and was fouled in the process. Reid hit the foul shot, giving the Colonial women a 41-35 advantage.
GW (17-7, 11-3 A-10) would hold URI at bay for the final 6:10 of the contest, holding at least a five-point lead for the rest of the game.
“A game like that you just have to grind it out,” said GW head coach Joe McKeown. “Rhode Island’s much better than their record.”
Noelia Gomez received four stitches after she took an elbow to the mouth with 10:28 left in the first half. She missed the remainder of the initial period but returned in the second half to score or assist on eight of the Colonial women’s first 12 points, sparking GW to a 38-33 lead at the 14:19 mark.
With Reid out of the game, McKeown was forced to go with Kristeena Alexander, who wasn’t supposed to play because of a back strain. Playing the final 11 minutes of the second half, she finished with nine points, including 7-of-8 shooting from the foul line.
“Alexander was hurt tonight, she wasn’t even supposed to play,” McKeown said. “I thought she changed the tempo.”
Chasity Myers played hurt (chronic ankle and knee soreness), as did Khadija Deas (a herniated disk in her neck).
“We just have too many injuries,” McKeown said. “We’re playing people at all crazy positions.”
GW’s starting forwards accounted for 42 of the Colonial women’s 68 points. Petra Dubovcova registered her third double-double for the season as she scored 14 points and grabbed 11 boards. Gomez scored a team-high 18 points, while Mandisa Turner scored 10, grabbed four rebounds and made five steals.
Egleston scored eight points, gave eight assists and grabbed five boards in 40 minutes of playing time. Reid would finish with five points, three assists and four steals.
The Colonial women led at halftime, 26-23. GW’s largest lead of the first half came with 7:31 left as Reid hit Turner in the post for a layup, giving the Colonial women a 20-9 advantage.
McKeown said his team is in good position for the A-10 Tournament and an NCAA bid.
“Last week we beat Xavier by 35,” McKeown said. “We looked like a Final Four team.”