GW enters the land of the Irish on St. Patty’s Day weekend

It’s no secret that everyone could use a little luck sometimes.

And in the world of basketball played in March, you just sit and watch and wonder, and then wait until the upsets take place and everything figures itself out. Because neither you nor I have any clue what’s going to happen next – all we can do is root and hope that our team gets lucky.

The GW women’s basketball team is heading back to the tourney. The very same team that I have watched and watched and written about for nearly five months has positioned itself such that GW is merely six wins away from a national championship. Mind you, GW is no stranger to winning streaks. GW’s held separate 12-game, six-game and five-game winning streaks this season. But what comes with a winning streak, and what comes to a team destined for the ultimate glory, is tons of made baskets and free throws, overwhelming defense and a little bit of that four-leaf clover luck.

So as a result of its thrilling season thus far, guess who gets to begin its quest for the national title on St. Patrick’s Day weekend in the lucky land of the Fighting Irish? Of course, it’s GW. I wouldn’t have led with that sentence if it wasn’t. So, with that, let’s look at what the Colonials have been given here.

GW gets to play UCLA in round one. The only thing I really know about them is that the Bruins were No. 4 in the national rankings at the start of the season. That’s pretty good. Until you see that they’re a No. 10 seed in the NCAA and have played only .500 basketball since the end of January. Alright, enough about UCLA, so let’s just beat `em.

Now, let’s look at what we really have here – Notre Dame. No, we wouldn’t be playing against an Ara Parseghian or Lou Holtz-led Notre Dame team in the second-round, with a trip to the Sweet 16 at stake. So with that understood, we’ve really got a lot going for us. In fact, GW’s got more going for it than most teams in this tournament. It’s got the emotion and memory of what was and what could have been. It was Notre Dame that stood in the Colonials’ way when Joe McKeown’s team was one win away from the Final Four just three seasons ago. Nothing like getting to play with a little extra added incentive. That season GW entered the tourney 25-5, having lost the Atlantic 10 title game to St. Joseph’s. McKeown’s team happens to be entering this tourney at 25-5 having lost to Xavier for the A-10 crown last Monday. How the past has come to life for GW.

The Colonials will show up to play next weekend. I believe it. McKeown wouldn’t have it any other way. And it just so happens that Tajama Abraham, who has been with the team all year, will be on GW’s bench as an assistant. Let’s just say the former GW star is quite familiar with Notre Dame and the NCAAs during her great career in the mid-1990s. Abraham has a winning effect on all those she encounters.

But again, it comes down to simply playing the game of basketball. GW’s shots have to find their way into the basket – continuously – while GW’s opponent’s have to miss and miss and miss some more. And if UCLA or Notre Dame or whoever else makes their shots, GW’s just got to make more. It’s only the NCAAs where something always has to give.

The A-10 tourney saw GW go very cold from the field. It saw Elisa Aguilar shoot poorly and Erica Lawrence struggle. Big deal, that is over and done with. Aguilar and Lawrence looked primed and ready to go Sunday. And if they, along with the rest of the Colonials, show up and play the game with the relaxed confidence that got them this far, you really never know where they could end up.

I’ve seen GW play many games this season. In fact, I’ve seen them win 14 games this season. Yes, I’ve counted. And had the referees not taken Petra Dubovcova out of the game against Xavier last week, I might have seen them win 15. Because of spring break plans made well before I had any idea how good GW would be this year, I won’t be seeing the team play again live unless they somehow make it back to Philadelphia for that Final Four thingy. Oh, could I use a cheesesteak right now.

But the Colonials certainly don’t need me, and, at this point, GW doesn’t need to play at the Smith Center, where they were perfect this season. National champions win anywhere. And with the exception of a few unlucky No. 16 seeds, anyone can do it. So why not us, and why not now? Go G-dub!!!

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