The GW women’s basketball team prepares to put Sunday’s tough loss to Atlantic 10 powerhouse Xavier behind them as it takes on the Temple Owls Friday night in Philadelphia. The contest with Xavier served up GW’s first conference loss in 11 games bringing their conference record to 10-1 and their overall record to 16-7.
As Sunday’s hard-fought overtime battle suggested, GW and Xavier are the teams to beat in the A-10. Both teams know this battle is far from over and that an A-10 Tournament final rematch in March is a possibility. But before that can happen, GW needs to regain its composure and continue its dominant play in the A-10.
That is the plan for McKeown and his team Friday night as GW prepares to face the Owls and regain the dominance and consistency they have displayed all season. The Colonials have won 18 straight games against Temple.
“The only thing to do with a tough loss like Xavier is to put it behind you and focus on the positives of the game, of which there were many,” McKeown said.
Some positives from the Xavier game included strong play from Erica Lawrence and Kristeena Alexander. Lawrence recording a double-double with 24 points and 13 rebounds while Alexander added 16 points.
“We didn’t lose our momentum,” Alexander said. “Take a look at how we played and I honestly think [Xavier] played better here than they did on their home court. We haven’t seen the last of them and they haven’t seen the last of us.”
Alexander also stressed the importance of carrying the positives from the Xavier game to Temple. GW will look to improve on turnovers, blocking out, and getting the ball to key people at crucial situations.
Although Temple is not as powerful as Xavier, the Colonials realize the importance of picking up a win here to prepare for the postseason.
“Temple and [Sunday’s game at] St. Joe’s are preparation for the conference championship,” Alexander said. “They’re ready to beat us so we have to be ready to beat them.”
McKeown is not underestimating Temple, a team fresh off a two-game winning streak.
“Anytime you’re winning and you haven’t been winning, like Temple, it gives you confidence” he said. “They’re playing a team they haven’t beaten yet.”
McKeown said the team will continue to look to Lawrence and Alexander and will also try to take advantage inside with Ugo Oha and Elena Vishniakova. McKeown is also confident about the upcoming match-ups. Temple’s inside force, Lisa Jukubowicz, will have a tough time against Oha and Vishniakova, two hot players who are prepared to stay aggressive and be a big part of the game. Alexander said she is not worried about her match-up against talented point guard Stacey Smalls.
“We both scored 18 points last time, but I had more rebounds, assists, and steals,” Alexander said. “I just have to shut her down and not allow her to control the pace of the game and get her teammates involved.”