Seniors Erica Lawrence and Lindsey Davidson were honored on Senior Day but it was the juniors that stole the show in the GW women’s basketball team’s 64-51 victory over Richmond Sunday.
Holding a narrow lead with just under three minutes remaining, junior Ugo Oha (13 points, five blocks) rejected a Richmond basket and junior Marsheik Witherspoon grabbed the rebound and pushed the ball down court to red-shirt senior Cathy Joens (25 points, eight rebounds), who put it up for two.
On Richmond’s next possession less than 40 seconds later, the junior made the same play and Joens’ bucket put GW up by 13, turning a close game into a double-digit victory.
“In women’s basketball, blocked shots like that are like dunks and they get the whole team off the bench,” Joens said. “The momentum from (Oha’s) block sent us on a run and got us back in our offense.”
Lawrence, Davidson and their families were honored with flowers and framed jerseys prior to the game, commemorating the classmates’ last regular season game at the Smith Center. Lawrence, starting in her first game since Jan. 15, scored seven points while Davidson added six rebounds.
Shooting an uncharacteristic 40 percent from the field, GW (21-6, 15-1 A-10) stayed in the game because of its defense. The Colonials held the second-highest scoring team in the A-10 to 30 percent shooting, 18 percent from behind the three-point line. GW’s six blocks and eight steals allowed the Colonials’ transition game to flow, as GW outscored Richmond 19-7 on points off turnovers.
“Our defense was key, every time Richmond made a run we came back,” head coach Joe McKeown said. “You don’t want to dwell on one play but (Oha’s block) got us back in the game.”
After overcoming four quick Richmond points, the Colonials held a lead for the entire first half. But a 9-1 Spiders run kept Richmond (18-9, 9-7 A-10), which was fighting for the No. 2 seed in the West, in the game. The Spiders’ leading scorer Amber Goppert (4-for-12) had seven of her 13 points during the run.
But GW had the final word as Joens and Oha scored 13 points on a 14-5 GW run that put the Colonials up by 15 with less than a minute remaining.
“We needed a statement game,” Oha said. “Our last couple of games have been close and we needed to send a message to the league that we’re GW and we’re going to play hard.”
McKeown agreed with his center, saying the way his team fought through the close game was a good preparation for next weekend’s Atlantic 10 Tournament. Come tournament time, he said, his team cannot expect to blow out every team it faces.
“This time of year, every game you have to grind,” he said.
The Colonials, who have not won an Atlantic 10 Tournament since 1996, enter the tournament as the No. 1 seed with a first-round bye. GW will face the winner of the Duquesne-Fordham game at noon Friday at Rhode Island’s Ryan Center.
GW 74, Duquesne 68
Thursday, Feb. 27
Cathy Joens led the Colonials to their 20th victory of the season, scoring 27 points as the GW women’s basketball team beat the Dukes (14-13, 7-9 Atlantic 10) 74-68 in Pittsburgh Thursday.
A 7-2 run with less than four minutes remaining gave GW an eight-point lead, but Duquesne cut the deficit to three with 19 seconds remaining off a three-point shot from junior Candace Futrell (17 points) and four points from senior Beth Friday (21 points).
GW hit clutch free throws with seconds remaining to hold off the Dukes’ charge, tallying its 12th 20-win season in the past 14 years.
Ugo Oha was the only other Colonial in double figures, adding 12 points.