Posted Thursday, Dec. 11, 12:15 a.m.
The GW women’s basketball team blew a 13-point lead over Boston College in the last six minutes of regulation Wednesday at the Smith Center, but senior Marsheik Witherspoon’s lay-up with ten seconds remaning in overtime gave the Colonials a 76-75 victory over the previously undefeated and 23rd-ranked (Associated Press) Eagles.
“Coach (Joe McKeown) drew up a play and I was going to just run it but they left me open,” Witherspoon said. “So I said, ‘Why not?’ and just drove the lane. I knew I had to make it.”
GW (4-2) had strong performances from its big three, who were led by junior Anna Montanana’s 19 points, seven rebounds and seven assists. Seniors Cathy Joens and Ugo Oha added 18 and 16 points, respectively, each grabbing six rebounds.
“We needed to win this because we needed to win a big game,” said Montanana, who played all 45 minutes. “We need to keep wining and beating a ranked team was important.”
The first half was tight as GW and Boston College (7-1) traded baskets over the first 10 minutes. The Colonials built a nine-point lead over the next five minutes only to see the Eagles make an 11-3 run that trimmed the margin to 34-33 at halftime.
The Colonials came out shooting in the second half, as they started with a 10-4 run that culminated in back-to-back three pointers by freshman Amanda LoCascio and Joens.
With LoCascio playing more minutes in place of a struggling Witherspoon, GW continued to dominate as it stretched the lead to 62-49 with just over six minutes remaining. But then the Colonials suddenly went cold, getting just two points on free throws from senior Valerie Williams over the next five minutes, as Boston College warmed up and took a 65-64 lead on two free throws from junior Clare Droesch with a minute to play.
As a large crowd poured into the Smith Center for the men’s game that was played afterwards, Oha made a short baseline jumper to take a one-point lead. Oha then fouled sophomore Lisa Macchia on the other end, but Macchia missed both of her free throws. After Montanana made one of two free throws, the Eagles called a timeout with nine seconds remaining.
Junior guard Jessalyn Deveny took the inbounds pass and worked off two screens to take a 10-foot jumper from the elbow as time expired. While Deveny averages 18.6 points per game, she had been limited to just four points before that shot. But her jumper went in, sending the game to overtime.
The Colonials started the extra five minutes well, as Montanana hit a baby hook and drew the foul. After a lay-up by Macchia cut the lead to one, senior guard Amber Jacobs hit a three to give the Eagles a two-point lead. They led by one with 14 seconds to play when McKeown called a timeout to set up a play.
But after taking the inbounds pass, Witherspoon was lightly guarded and took advantage of a wide-open lane for her lay-up. The Eagles had one more chance but could not convert from underneath the basket as Oha partially tipped the ball and time expired.
“Sometimes you’ve got to let them play and she was smart enough to take advantage,” McKeown said of Witherspoon’s game-winner.
Besides the big three’s contributions, Williams also scored in double figures for GW with 12 points and six rebounds. Playing 19 minutes, LoCascio finished with seven points and four assists. After committing 37 turnovers as a team in their last game against Howard, the Colonials committed 13 Wednesday.
Boston College also had four players score in double figures. Macchia led the Eagles with 23 points and nine rebounds, well above her season averages of 11 and 5, and Jacobs scored 17 points with six rebounds. Senior forward Maureen Leahy had her best game of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Droesch added 14 points. The Eagles out-rebounded GW 44-35 while out-shooting GW 44.3 percent to 42.6 percent.
The Colonials are on a four-game winning streak after early losses to Georgetown and Penn State University. But GW now has a week off before it plays No. 22 University of Oregon.
“I wish we would play again Friday because we have some momentum,” McKeown said. “I think Oregon will get their attention come next week. Even though it might be hard to get them to focus over the next week.”