Just when it seemed the Colonials were too dominant to be exciting, having won each of their previous eight games by at least 12 points, they produced one of the most memorable finishes in Smith Center history Friday, beating Xavier with an improbable last-second three-pointer from 25 feet away.
That win, coupled with a more typical trouncing of Dayton Sunday, extended the Colonials’ win streak to 10, as seniors Cathy Joens and Ugo Oha each accomplished personal milestones by setting school records.
While those career marks will cement Joens and Oha as two of GW’s greatest players ever, the season’s most enduring memory came on a shot from the hands of junior Anna Montanana.
The NBA range-running three-pointer instantly transformed her from goat to hero while giving the Colonials (17-5, 10-1 Atlantic 10) a thrilling 66-64 win over traditional A-10 rival Xavier (15-9, 7-6 A-10). Before the shot swished through, Montanana had been 2-for-11 in the game, including two misses in GW’s previous two possessions.
“She wants the ball. She’s fearless in those situations,” Colonials head coach Joe McKeown said. “Great players have amnesia. They forget what happened the last 20 minutes, and that’s what separates her from a lot of people.”
Montanana had little use for amnesia Sunday, as she scored consistently on her way to a career-high 21 points to go along with seven rebounds and five assists. Joens, Oha and senior Val Williams also scored in double figures as the first-place Colonials beat a shorthanded but feisty Dayton (3-21, 1-12 A-10) team, 80-62. The win guaranteed GW a first-round bye in the A-10 Tournament.
“I don’t feel like I’m playing that good, actually,” Montanana said after Sunday’s game. “I made points today because I was close, but I think I can do much better.”
While Montanana continued to build on her reputation, Oha and Joens further extended their legacies.
With four blocks Friday, Oha moved past former GW All-American Tajama Abraham into first place with 330 career rejections. Oha then started extending that record with five more blocks Sunday.
Joens hit five three-pointers Friday and then added two Sunday to move past current assistant coach Lisa Cermignano into first place with 271 career treys. By scoring 28 points Friday, Joens also moved into fourth place on GW’s all-time scoring list, jumping ahead of Jennifer Shasky. She now trails Debbie Hemery by 67 points for third place.
In the shadow of Joens, Oha and Montanana is Williams, who is also quietly putting together another solid season. Last year’s A-10 Sixth Player of the Year started for the first time all year Sunday against Dayton because Oha violated an unspecified team rule, and Williams responded by going 9-for-13 to tie her career high with 19 points.
The Flyers had only seven players dressed for the game because of injuries but stayed close throughout the first half by going 6-for-13 from beyond the arc. They trailed GW 36-31 at the half.
Dayton cut that lead to four with nine minutes left in the game, but a 12-4 run by the Colonials gave them a double-digit lead, and the Flyers never threatened again.
Against Xavier, Montanana’s last-second heroics masked an otherwise poor performance by the Colonials.
GW led 38-31 at halftime, but the Musketeers shot 54.2 percent in the second half and made 4-of-8 threes after the break. Joens and Oha both played well, scoring 28 and 16 points, respectively, but nobody else contributed more than seven points.
The Colonials will travel to Rhode Island and Duquesne this weekend.