A different Colonials women’s basketball team than GW has seen in recent games showed up at the Smith Center Sunday to beat DePaul University 74-61. After a disappointing loss to Georgetown Wednesday, making this season GW’s worst start in 12 years, the Colonial women ended their two-game slide and used the win to regain confidence lost in the past two weeks.
“We needed to get a W,” head coach Joe McKeown said. “I was proud of the way they bounced back.”
Junior forward Erica Lawrence credits the turnaround to the strict attention to detail each player made in practice in the past week. It paid off: GW (4-3) lowered its turnover total to 15, eight less than their average 23 on the season. They also successfully executed a number of the team’s plays, McKeown said, which was something they have been struggling with.
Shooting has also been a problem. To counter this, GW brought the ball inside, utilizing its height advantage over a much smaller DePaul team. Sophomore center Ugo Oha and Lawrence propelled the Colonials on an 11-1 run midway through the first half, putting GW ahead 28-17. GW carried a 10-point lead into the second half.
Oha was the force behind the dominating front court, earning a double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds. Even with their best low post defender Elena Vishniakova playing reduced minutes because of a sore back, the Colonials out-rebounded the Blue Demons by eight rebounds. Freshman Anna Montanana and Liz Dancause stepped up, contributing six rebounds and five respectively. Valerie Williams and Lawrence each added four.
McKeown pointed to the 21 assists his team accumulated, in comparison to DePaul’s 13 as an example of his team’s patience and chemistry on offense. GW shot 48 percent – its highest level of success this season – and were also able to draw fouls, going to the line 19 times for 17 points.
Oha and Lawrence both stressed that the team knew after the Georgetown game it was time to step it up and play the game they knew they were capable of playing.
Lawrence went 8-for-10 from the field for 20 points.
The Colonials executed patience with their defense, holding the Blue Demons, a team that averages 70 points a game, to 61. DePaul’s leading scorer, Lenae Williams, who scored 41 against No. 6 Iowa State earlier this season, was held to 13 points, a season low for her. “I thought we never fell asleep,” McKeown said.