Presence (n): The bearing, carriage, or air of a person. 2: A quality of pose and effectiveness that enables a performer to achieve a close relationship with his audience. 3: Something felt or believed to be present.
4: Ugo Oha. Freshman center Ugo Oha is a presence for the GW women’s basketball team in every sense of the word. Her impressive statistics and unparalleled poise on the court are certainly turning heads in the Atlantic 10; she has been rookie of the week three times. But, there is another aspect of Oha’s presence that has head coach Joe MeKeown counting his blessings that one of the most heavily recruited seniors last year chose to call the Smith Center home.
Oha’s offensive presence was obvious Tuesday night, much to La Salle’s dismay. One of the reasons McKeown claims Oha’s game is so great is her ability to keep her poise when she gets the ball, to just turn, square up and score. So it was no surprise that many of GW’s baskets last night were scored by the perfectly positioned Oha, receiving solid assists from Lindsey Davidson and Kristeena Alexander. But, Oha was also hot from outside as well making her an offensive threat all over the court. These weapons together with her ability to draw (4-for-6 from the line) combined for an impressive 20 points in 30 minutes last night to boost the Colonials to a 70-55 victory over LaSalle.
Defensively, Oha had more of a presence than her statistics last night would suggest. Coming off an impressive defensive performance at Duquesne Jan. 23 when she finished with seven rebounds and six blocks in only 25 minutes, Tuesday’s defensive efforts might not seem so “present” at first glance. But, McKeown described Oha’s presence on another level.
“It’s like having a Patrick Ewing, even if she doesn’t block shots they think she will,” McKeown said. “She provides an intimidation factor that we didn’t have last year.”
This certainly contributed to the detriment of La Salle last night, as the Explorers’ inside game was completely eliminated forcing them to make their outside shots, an objective that they didn’t accomplish (22-for-56, 39 percent from the floor).
Without question, everyone that watches Oha play is beginning to notice something special, and with her confident manner and graceful poise on the court, its clear Oha herself realizes it, too. It’s called presense.