Runnin’ through the Hokies

The GW women’s basketball team played a dominating second half in Wednesday’s 73-58 victory over Virginia Tech as the Colonials completed their first regular-season series sweep of the Hokies in three years.

The Colonials (17-3, 8-1 Atlantic 10) won their third consecutive game in front of a fiery 2,469 fans at the Smith Center, improving their home record to 12-0 this season. GW will put its current 17-game home winning streak on the line against a solid St. Joseph’s team Sunday.

Freshman Erica Lawrence powered GW’s 16-6 run to open the second half, dropping in seven points in the first three minutes against Virginia Tech (12-8, 5-4 A-10).

We were talking in the locker room (at halftime), and we were just saying to each other we gotta get it together, Lawrence said.

Lawrence’s perimeter jump shot just 15 seconds into the half was followed by a rebound layup 30 seconds later. GW’s Elisa Aguilar scored a rebound basket on the Colonials’ next possession and the Hokies immediately called a time-out. Virginia Tech head coach Bonnie Henrickson had no second-half answers for Lawrence and GW.

You give George Washington credit, Henrickson said. The start of the second half I thought was really the tale of the game, really, how aggressive they came out of the locker room.

GW’s second-half momentum resulted from a late first-half run that saw Lawrence score six points in a two-minute span to give the Colonials a 33-32 halftime advantage. Virginia Tech held the lead for over 18 minutes in the first half, including a 27-21 lead with just over four minutes remaining.

It was big for us to come back and take the lead in the end of the second half, GW head coach Joe McKeown said. If we went in (the locker room) with the lead, we get (Elisa) Aguilar going, and we can get started a little bit. It would be hard for them to keep us from getting 65 to 70 points at home.

GW broke the 70-point barrier against Virginia Tech, just the third team to do so this season.

Virginia Tech battled back and cut the GW lead to 53-48 when senior Tere Williams (23 points) nailed an outside jump shot with just over eight minutes remaining. After a GW basket by junior Petra Dubovcova (15 points) on the following possession and an officials’ time out, GW’s senior guards Elisa Aguilar and Marlo Egleston nailed consecutive three-point baskets to kill the Hokies’ momentum and draw a loud Smith Center roar. The Colonials held a double-digit lead for the final 5:30 of the game.

Playing at home makes a big difference, Egleston said. But you just know that together you’re gonna find a way.

Aguilar, who was honored before the game for scoring over 1,000 career points, recovered from a slow start and scored 12 of her 14 points in the second half. The Colonials stunned the Virginia Tech offense that made only 10 second-half field goals (22-of-52, 42 percent) and went 0-for-6 from behind the arc. Virginia Tech’s Crystal Starling was the only other Hokie player to score in double digits (15 points).

GW junior Kristeena Alexander, who scored 13 points and played a huge role in the team’s 76-64 victory over the Hokies last month, was in first-half foul trouble and managed only five points in the game. Alexander gave GW its second brief lead of the game at 16-15 when the speedy junior made a cross-over dribble move and blew right past Virginia Tech’s Starling.

GW’s Dubovcova received a perfect backdoor pass from teammate Starr Jefferson (five assists) in the final minute of the first half to bring GW to within one point. A Lawrence basket assisted by Aguilar with 25 seconds remaining gave GW the halftime lead.

(Lawrence) is very, very athletic. She plays to her strengths, Henrickson said. She takes people off the dribble. She’s very skilled for a player her size and age.

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