After a blown lead and overtime battle against Massachusetts Thursday brought on shades of GW’s quadruple overtime loss to Xavier, head women’s basketball coach Joe McKeown and his team weren’t about to make the same mistake Saturday.
They didn’t, thrashing visiting Duquesne 95-63 at the Smith Center. With Saturday’s win and Thursday’s six-point victory over UMass, the Colonials (17-6, 11-1 Atlantic 10) remain in first place in the A-10 West. They hold their lead over second-place Xavier with four games remaining in the regular season.
“I didn’t want a repeat of the UMass game. I didn’t want to let Duquesne get confidence,” McKeown said Saturday, adding that his team has started to mature.
Starting point guard Lindsey Davidson, who led four Colonials in double figures with 17 points, agreed.
“Coach told us yesterday how we had played five overtimes in two games, ” she said. “We pulled off one, we didn’t pull off the other. To us that was unacceptable. We played extremely hard against Xavier, and that was a heartbreaker. Against UMass, we could have done some things better. So tonight we wanted to show that those two games are not how we usually play.”
The 32-point victory was an accurate reflection of the Colonials’ impressive shooting, a torrid 55 percent from the field, including 60 percent in the first half. This included a 23-point Colonial run midway through the second half, giving the Colonials their biggest lead of the game, 81-46, with a little more than five minutes remaining. Over that run, the Dukes (13-10, 6-6 A-10) endured a nine minute scoring drought.
“I wasn’t surprised, I was pleased,” McKeown said of the run. “I know we’re capable of that. When Lindsey (Davidson) and Cathy (Joens) are hitting shots we stretch defenses, which allow us to work better inside.”
Davidson, who had struggled of late with injuries and academic issues, McKeown said, was economical from the field, hitting 3-of-4 from three point range on 5-for-6 shooting. She was also a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line.
“I had a lot of fun tonight,” Davidson said. “We were heart- broken after that Xavier game. It was tough against UMass emotionally, but tonight we were really into it.”
Joens complimented Davidson’s performance with 15 points, nine from behind the three point line. With Davdison and Joens hitting from the back court, the Dukes’ defense was drawn away from the paint, leaving junior center Ugo Oha open to score her 12 and junior backup forward Valerie Williams open for her 10.
The Colonials’ bench was visibly excited when junior Demetria Tipps entered the game for an eight-minute cameo to score eight points. Overall, GW’s bench outscored the Dukes 36-27.
Candace Futrell was the high-point woman for the Dukes, scoring 13 points on 5-for-10 shooting. Senior Beth Friday added eight points.
The women return to action next Thursday when they host Dayton in a 7 p.m. conference battle.
GW 65, UMass 59
Thursday, Feb. 13
The Colonials let a 10-point halftime lead slip into an overtime struggle but finally emerged victorious over Massachusetts in what was GW’s fifth overtime period in two games.
But the Colonials, still feeling their quadruple overtime loss to Xavier last week, put a stop to any idea of a repeat with a quick 6-0 run in the overtime period. Massachusetts (12-10, 4-7 A-10) missed six of its eight shots in the frame.
The Colonials barely made it to the extra period, up 55-54 with 0.8 seconds left and UMass center Jennifer Butler at the foul line. But the senior missed the opportunity to clinch the game for the Minutewomen, missing the first but making the second shot to send the game into overtime.
“We were thinking about the four-overtime game,” GW center Ugo Oha admitted. “We didn’t want that to happen again, so we came out and played harder.”
After controlling the first half, the Colonials allowed the Minutewomen to make a 7-0 run at the start of the second half. Forward Nekole Smith had her way in the UMass front court, scoring 18 points.
“I am really disappointed with the way we played in the second half,” head coach Joe McKeown said. “We were guarding the wrong people, and we never do that. We gave up 14 offensive rebounds. We’re not going to win any championships or make a run in the NCAA tournament if we don’t block out and rebound better. It’s a challenge the team has to accept.”
Anna Montanana had a career-high 20 points to lead all scorers. Cathy Joens added 16 points and Oha had 13.