The Colonial women will not enter this weekend’s Atlantic 10 tournament undefeated, as it seemed they would until last week. But they remain the team entering Philadelphia’s Liacouras Center the No. 1 seed for the sixth time in coach Joe McKeown’s 13 years.
“It would have been nice to be 16-0, but being number one is also good,” McKeown said.
A 62-53 road loss at Massachusetts in GW’s season finale is the only blemish on the Colonials’ otherwise perfect conference schedule (20-7, 15-1 A-10). The loss did not effect the tournament seeding because the Colonials had clinched the top spot in the West with a win over Dayton at home last weekend.
The Colonials are not entering the tournament comfortable that they will plow through each team, because one loss will knock them out.
“There is a sense of urgency that this game could be the last game – but we don’t want it to be,” McKeown said. “When you’re 15-1 and the No. 1 seed you want to finish the job.”
While a first-round bye makes things easier for the women, coach McKeown said a blemished record will help put things in perspective.
“Being in first place gives you the same momentum (as being undefeated), McKeown said. “Being undefeated is a lot of pressure. The loss was like a hiccup, but the team will respond well in the tournament.”
GW entered last year’s tournament undefeated as the No.1 seed but did not finish the job last season. The Colonials lost to Xavier in the final, before receiving an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament. McKeown said he feels the team has some unfinished business from the loss last season.
Taking care of business this season will require more than the continued consistency from Ugo Oha, Cathy Joens and Lindsey Davidson. Erica Lawrence, who has been suffering from a high-ankle sprain since the Feb. 8 Duquesne match, needs to have a breakout game, McKeown said. He said his bench will also play an important role, especially in tournament play when there are three games in three days.
With the top spot, the Colonials receive a first-round bye and will start tournament play at noon Saturday against the winner of the Rhode Island (No. 4 East)/ Xavier (No. 5 West) game.
Temple (17-10, 12-4) holds the top spot in the East, marking the Owls’ first top seed. Before this season, the highest the Owls ranked in the A-10 Tournament was third.
Richmond, Dayton and Duquesne, each with an even conference record of 8-8, hold the second, third and fourth spots, respectively. GW has beaten each of these teams twice, but McKeown says he is more concerned with his own team’s performance than the competition.
“This time of year, no matter who you play it’s tough competition,” he said. “I’m more concerned with us.”