December stretch is key for women

After watching the GW women’s basketball team muscle out a win in Sunday’s sloppy game against the University of Iowa at the Smith Center, one might have trouble being optimistic for the long term given the team’s great success last season.

Last year at this time, head coach Joe McKeown’s crew was blasting through a critical stretch in the season that set the tone for the team’s NCAA tournament run. GW was 4-2 and on the front end of a 12-game winning streak, crushing big-time teams such as Rutgers University and the University of Arkansas.

In the early season this year, in which the team suffered a close loss at the University of Virginia and two hard losses at Rutgers and top-ranked University of Connecticut, some say GW’s recent performances indicate a tough road ahead.

McKeown disagrees.

We played three of the best women’s basketball teams in the country on the road, McKeown said. There is not much that we are afraid of. We have seen great talent and games like that can only help us.

Despite the recent losses and shaky Iowa win, McKeown said the Colonials hold high hopes. He shies away from comparisons of past teams.

Its hard to make solid comparisons from season to season, McKeown said. It’s a different year and a different team.

It is a different team. GW lost talented guards Elisa Aguilar and Marlo Egleston and forward Starr Jefferson. But GW still competes with a talented young team that consistently plays two freshman (Ugo Oha, Marsheik Witherspoon) and junior-transfer Elena Vishniakova, all of whom are beginning to adjust to GW basketball

Looking at the game against Iowa, as shaky as it was, the end result was a win. And after last night’s victory at Georgetown, the upcoming December run that has the Colonials hosting three of their next four games could be a sign of good things to come.

GW held Iowa’s Lindsey Meder to 1-of-11 from the floor Sunday, and McKeown brought senior Petra Dubovcova off the bench for offensive production. She responded well after a poor game at UConn, scoring a team-high 16 points.

The Colonials are getting stronger, and McKeown said despite the early losses, the team is gaining the necessary experience and chemistry.

No one wants to be great in December and fade in March, McKeown said. We want to build and hit our peak. That’s what we have done historically when we have been great.

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