GW Head Coach Joe McKeown said the women’s basketball team needed some “feel good wins” after returning home from a tough trip to the Bahamas. But while the Colonials beat Syracuse Thursday and Howard Saturday, each by more than 20 points, the games were not exactly “feel good.” Against Syracuse, GW struggled shooting the ball, and against Howard, it committed 37 turnovers.
Even so, the Colonials (3-2) beat the Bison (0-6) easily, 80-55, but after GW took a large lead early, Howard controlled the tempo of the game. Every Colonial who saw time made at least one turnover, and senior Cathy Joens was the only Colonial to reach double digits in points with 21. However, Joens did not exhibit her usual accuracy, shooting 9-for-21 from the field and 3-for-11 from behind the arc.
“We were sloppy and I am disappointed,” McKeown said. “We allowed Howard to make the game a little scattered and we got caught up in that a little bit.”
Howard’s poor shooting helped GW, as the Bison finished the first half going 29 percent from the field. After Howard’s first basket gave them a 3-2 lead, the Colonials went on a 35-6 run over the next 16 minutes. Howard made a 10-0 run of its own during the final four minutes of the half, but GW still held a 40-21 lead at the break.
The only excitement of the second half came when junior Anna Montanana, who grabbed a game-high 13 rebounds along with seven points, almost had an altercation with a Howard player in the opening minute. Montanana was tied up and pulled the ball away from the defender as the players had a stare down. After the two were separated, McKeown was given a technical foul for arguing.
Careless play continued through the rest of the game, as both teams committed multiple back-to-back turnovers.
“I told our players if we play sloppy against Boston College, they will make us pay,” McKeown said. “Howard wasn’t able to make us pay.”
Thursday night’s game at the Smith Center was a relatively easy win over the Syracuse Orangewomen (3-3). Senior Marsheik Witherspoon had an excellent defensive night, holding Syracuse’s best player, senior Julie McBride, to just seven points on 3-for-10 shooting. McBride beat Witherspoon twice early on two lay-ups, but Witherspoon quickly adjusted.
“(McBride) is a really terrific player,” McKeown said. “Marsheik battled her, and that was the key tonight. That was the match-up we needed to win.”
Montanana recorded a double-double with 13 points and a career-best 14 rebounds. Joens scored 24 points on 8-for-14 shooting, while Syracuse put itself out of the game early by shooting just 24 percent from the field in the first half. They went 6-for-25 from long range for the game.
Senior Ugo Oha did not post big numbers in either game, finishing with 13 points combined.
“I don’t think I am struggling, it’s just that some nights I don’t need to take 15 to 20 shots,” Oha said. “A lot of defenses are sagging in on me and that is leaving our guards open for shots, and they should shoot the ball.”
The Colonials’ next match-up will be a challenging one against No. 24 Boston College (ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll), which is undefeated at 6-0. The game will be played at the Smith Center Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. as the first game of a doubleheader with the men’s team.
The rest of GW’s winter break is filled with tough opponents, but the best two will both play at the Smith Center. No. 20 University of Oregon travels to D.C. Dec. 18 and No. 3 University of Tennessee visits GW Dec. 30. Conference play starts Jan. 3 at Xavier.