Lindsey Davidson’s first three- point shot gave the Colonials their first points of the game Saturday. Her last three-pointer gave them a one-point victory over host Syracuse at Manley Field House Saturday. The four she sank in between gave her a team-high 20 points and a new career high in three-point shots made.
After a shaky 39 minutes of play, No. 24 GW trailed Big East powerhouse Syracuse (2-5) 66-64 with just over one minute remaining when Davidson hit her sixth and final three of the day. The last minute shot, off an assist from junior point guard Marsheik Witherspoon, gave the Colonials (3-1) a one-point advantage, which they protected for the final 52 seconds to hold on to the 66-67 victory.
“It didn’t feel any different than any other shot in the game,” Davidson said of the game-winner. “Everyone contributed and it just happened to come to me that day.”
Fifty-two seconds was more than enough time for Syracuse to overcome the one-point deficit, but both teams failed to score on their next possessions, and GW successfully ran the clock down to give the Orangewomen just six seconds for their last play.
But players thought Syracuse head coach Marianna Freeman called a time out, draining valuable seconds off the game clock. Syracuse point guard Julie McBride (23 points on 7-16 shooting) was forced to launch a 40-foot desperation jumper in the waning seconds that did not fall. Syracuse was unable to convert a field goal for the last two minutes and 40 seconds of the game.
Davidson said despite her team’s apparent offensive success, the game was more of a struggle than it should have been.
“Just because you had a great shooting game doesn’t mean you have a great game all together,” she said. “We were miscommunicating on defense and missed a lot of plays by a half a second.”
The tumultuous last minute of the game was no surprise, given a back-and-forth second half that saw seven ties and eight lead changes. The Colonials looked to break open their four-point halftime lead in the opening two minutes of the second half when a Cathy Joens three pointer and a Ugo Oha field goal gave GW their largest lead of the game at seven points. But two McBride threes cut the gap and gave the
Orangewomen the first of seven second-half ties.
Joens and Oha attempted to break it open again with another back-to-back field goal combination with 3:53 remaining in the game, but McBride foiled GW’s run again, sinking four foul shots in 30 seconds for the game’s seventh and final tie, 64-64.
“We knew McBride was the key to their team, so we were looking to pressure up and down the floor and lock her down and tire her out,” Davidson said.
But Davidson and Joens overshadowed McBride’s three three-pointers, combining for 10-of-22 baskets from three-point range. Witherspoon, with her game-and career-high 10 assists, helped out on 70 percent of GW’s three point shots. As a team, GW had 22 assists to Syracuse’s 11.
The road win was key for the Colonials, who return to the Smith Center to face No. 19 Brigham Young University in their first home game against a ranked opponent Wednesday night. The Cougars (5-1) suffered their first loss of the season to Oregon State Saturday before defeating Southern Utah University and San Francisco State last week.
Davidson said struggling to pull off a win against Syracuse will carry the Colonials into this week’s game better prepared than if they had blown out their competition.
“The close win really sets us up to be aware of what we have to improve,” she said. “We realize that we can struggle and still pull off a win.”