While the GW women’s basketball team recorded its 10th straight win Sunday with its victory over Rhode Island, any one of the 728 fans in attendance at the Smith Center would not classify the Colonials’ performance as just a win. It was a slaughter.
The Colonials (14-5, 10-0 Atlantic 10) beat the Rams (11-9, 3-6 A-10) 90-38, marking the team’s largest margin of victory since 1993. The spread topped the Colonials’ previous season high, set with a 51-point win over Howard University in the season opener.
Head Coach Joe McKeown said his team was motivated by “the sting” left from last season when his team was denied an at large NCAA bid after a 15-1 conference performance.
“We’re hitting our stride right,” he said. “We’re sending a message that we’re becoming a great basketball team again. I want our players to feel confident and I want them to walk on the floor like they are great basketball players.”
Joens led the Colonials for the second time this weekend, scoring 28 points on 11-for-19 shooting, including 5-of-8 bombs from behind the arc. Joens now ranks second in the Atlantic 10 in three point shots and has nine three-pointers in the past two games.
“Everyone just played well today,” Joens said. “You’re going to have nights when you make shots, and then there’s others when you don’t. I think it’s more important that the whole team steps up.”
Joens’ teammates did step up. Ugo Oha dominated the defensive end, totaling six blocks while adding 17 points and five rebounds. Erica Lawrence, in a break out performance, added 13 off the bench, as did junior forward Valerie Williams.
GW opened up a 10-point lead in the first six minutes and, while they dominated the entire game, a Marsheik Witherspoon steal and a Lawrence lay up sparked a 18-0 run that let the Colonials’ break away for good. GW headed to the locker room up 50-15.
The Colonials’ lead only increased in the second half, a lead they held above 39 points for the remainder of the game. A 14-4 run over the last seven minutes confirmed the win, launching GW’s lead over 50 points, no small feat against Rhode Island’s conference-leading defense. Prior to Sunday, the Rams had no let in more than 73 points in one game.
“I thought we were able to handle the ball well against their defense,” head coach Joe McKeown said. “Our passing is so much better than it was a month ago. We forced their defense to play to our strength, which was inside out with Ugo and CJ.”
Led by Marsheik Witherspoon’s seven, GW tallied 20 more assists than Rhode Island. The Colonials, who rank second in defense, had 16 steals on the day, forcing 24 Rams’ turnovers that led to 28 points.
When the Rams did hold on to the ball, they did not take advantage, shooting just 30.8 percent on the day including a paltry 30 percent from the charity stripe.
In contrast, the Colonials shot a torrid 62 percent including 7-of-14 from behind the arc and 9-of-10 from the free throw line.
The Colonials look to continue their winning streak when they travel to Dayton, Ohio Friday to face the Flyers in their next A-10 conference game.
GW 81, La Salle 51
Thursday, Jan. 30
Ugo Oha and Cathy Joens led a balanced Colonial attack as four players finished in double figures in the GW women’s basketball team’s 81-51 rout over LaSalle Thursday.
Joens hit four of her seven attempts from behind the arc as she and Oha notched 18 points apiece. Anna Montanana added 13 while Valerie Williams put up big numbers off the bench with 12 points.
“We’re in a comfort zone right now,” head coach Joe McKeown said after his team’s ninth-straight win. “We’re playing with a lot of confidence and we’ll see where it will take us from here.”
After a close first half, GW exploded after the break, scoring the first 18 points of the half to build a 32-point lead, 60-28. The Colonials never looked back and held their lead around 30 points for the remainder of the contest.
The Colonials held the Explorers to just six field goals in the second half at a scant 33 percent from the field. Meanwhile, GW shot 53 percent, including 4-of-9 shots from three-point range.
“Tonight we just clicked together,” Oha said. “Everybody is focused and stepping up.”
GW dominated all aspects of the game, fighting La Salle’s decent first-half shooting (43 percent) with 11 second-chance points from 13 offensive rebounds. The Colonials out-rebounded La Salle overall, 47-27 and scored 34 more points in the paint.
Forward Monica Garrido Sanz led the Explorers with 16 points and guard Jill Marano added 11, going 3-of-4 from behind the arc.
After a quick 7-0 GW lead out of the gates, the pace slowed, and the two teams engaged in a seesaw battle for much of the first half. But after a Bonnie Randa three pointer pulled LaSalle within three with seven minutes remaining, the Colonials went on a 16-4 run to take a 42-28 halftime lead.