Experience triumphed over youth Sunday as GW dominated its last non-conference game, beating visiting University of Florida 74-55 for its eight-straight win. With their victory over St. Joe’s Thursday, the Colonials remain the only undefeated team in the Atlantic 10, while the Gators remain winless in their Southeastern conference.
Florida started five freshmen and GW quickly took advantage of their young opponents’ mistakes, turning 23 turnovers into 28 points. Florida was able to parlay 15 GW turnovers into only six points en route to its sixth straight loss.
Junior Ugo Oha led GW with 17 points in the face of constant double and triple teams from Florida. She carried the Colonial offense in the first half, going 5-for-7 from the field while the rest of the Colonials struggled to make outside shots. GW was just 2-of-9 from beyond the arc in the first half.
GW began their three-point stride at the end of the first half, however, as senior Lindsay Davidson took a Marsheik Witherspoon feed and hit from long range as time expired. That shot gave GW a 32-22 lead going into the locker room, making a significant difference in the game, Davidson said.
“I thought it was big because we went into the locker room with a different kind of attitude,” she said. “To just give that little ‘umph’ at the end (of the half) sticks a dagger in them for a while. They had gone on a little run and that breaks up their momentum going to the second half.”
Florida never regained any momentum, and the Gators were put away for good when the Colonials regained their outside touch. With a 39-30 lead and 13:30 remaining in the game, the Colonials went on a tear.
Davidson (11 points, six rebounds) hit another three to spark a 22-5 run that was punctuated by two Cathy Joens three-pointers. Joens missed her first six shots from long range and had just four points at halftime, but the senior guard came alive in the second half and finished with 14 points.
Oha said she had confidence all along that her teammates would start helping her out.
“I just kept trying to feed my players every time I got doubled because I have trust in them and I know they’ll hit the shots,” Oha said.
Davidson said she never really thought the team was struggling with their shots in the first place.
“There are games where you can come out and shoot air balls and you’re just everywhere around the rim. But all our shots (today) were right there and as we loosened up and relaxed, and as the game went on, those shots were going to fall.”
GW went 5-of-10 from beyond the arc in the second half, and shot a total of 50 percent from the field
Forward Bernice Mosby led Florida with 17 points and eight rebounds, while point guard Sarah Lowe added 12 points. The Gator’s starting five got little help, though, as their bench only contributed six points while GW’s bench had 24.
Eleven GW bench points came from sophomore Greeba Outen Barlow, who was 4-of-5 from the field and supplied an added burst of energy each time she entered the game. The Colonials were running throughout the game, and Davidson said the team was feeding off each other.
“We’re playing with a lot of energy and spark and having fun doing it. I think that was the problem in the four game losing streak. We weren’t having fun and we were searching for it,” Davidson said of a four game road skid over winter break.
The Colonials have not lost a game since then, however, which Coach Joe McKeown attributed to staying emotionally consistent.
“I think we were so up and down (emotionally) over the holidays that we struggled and it became a roller coaster ride,” he said. “We’re just trying to stay consistent now instead of being so emotional.”
McKeown’s only complaint right now is the team’s rebounding. On Sunday, Florida out-rebounded GW 36-31, something that he said cannot continue.
“We’ve got to rebound better to win a championship. When we got to the sweet 16 or the final 8 of the NCAA tournament, we were a very good rebounding team and we took care of the basketball. We can’t turn the ball over like we did over break, and today we didn’t rebound great. If we can do those two things well, I think we can play with just about anybody.”
GW 77, St. Joseph’s 67
Thursday, Jan. 23
With 10 lead changes and seven ties in the first half, it seemed neither undefeated Atlantic 10 opponent would fall. But Ugo Oha led a second half charge that kept her Colonials the only undefeated team in the conference.
Senior Cathy Joens hit four first half three-pointers and had 16 points in the first half but was matched by the Hawks Erin Brady, who had 20 points, six rebounds and six assists. St. Joe’s also got a strong game out of Irina Krasnoshiok, who had nine points and 10 rebounds.
While the Hawks concentrated on Joens in the second half, Oha dominated the post. She had 12 second half points on her way to 22 for the game, along with seven rebound and three blocks.
GW also continued to get strong play from its bench. Junior Valerie Williams scored 8 of her 14 points in the final five minutes as GW held off a persistent St. Joseph’s team. Williams was 7-for-7 on the day in just 12 minutes of playing time.
While the Hawks shot 47 percent for the game, they could not contain the inside outside attack of GW, which led to 51 percent shooting for the Colonials and a big road victory.