PHILIDELPHIA- Heading into the Atlantic 10 Tournament, GW women’s basketball coach Joe McKeown said he was concerned about the Colonials offense and, more specifically, its outside shooting. McKeown’s worries were validated Sunday as GW struggled to score in its 70-57 loss to St. Joseph’s which ended the Colonials’ bid to repeat their 2003 championship.
GW (22-7, 14-3 A-10) finished 2-for-12 from three-point range and shot 37 percent for the game. The Colonial’s had a particularly rough time down the stretch, as important shot after important shot rimmed out. On the other end, the Hawks (20-9, 13-4 A-10) shot 40 percent and continuously hit three-pointers at critical moments.
“The game was won outside the three point arc,” McKeown said. “We played behind the whole game because they played good defense and shot it well. We forced some shots and we didn’t rebound that well.”
While senior Ugo Oha had a solid game just days after being named the A-10 Defensive Player of the Year, senior Cathy Joens couldn’t find her shot after being named the Co-Player of the Year with Duquesne’s Candace Futrell.
After a 4-of-14, 12-point performance Saturday against La Salle, Joens went 4-for-16 from the field Sunday and 2-for-7 from three. The senior guard averaged just over 20 points per game in the regular season, but finished with only 10 against the Hawks.
“Coming out, we know they’re going to key on Ugo and I,” Joens said. “But it just didn’t fall this weekend.”
The Colonials trailed the Hawks by 10 points, 57-47, with seven minutes remaining, but McKeown called for the press defense, and it immediately sparked a 6-0 GW run. The Hawks called a timeout to halt the momentum, and then Erin Brady drove down the lane and hit a floater off the backboard as the shot clock expired.
The Colonials followed with a miss, and the Hawks’ Irina Krasnoshiok drilled a three pointer from the corner to push the lead back to nine. The Colonials could not recover and never seriously threatened again.
GW was led by Oha, who had 21 points and nine rebounds. Junior Anna Montaana struggled, going 5-for-14 from the field to finish with 10 points, and senior Valerie Williams scored six points in only 14 minutes.
The first half saw St. Josephs jump out to a 29-21 lead with five minutes to go before the Colonials put together a 7-0 run that included back-to-back lay ups by Williams. But Krasnoshiok hit a three with 42 seconds left to take momentum back for the Hawks, who led 32-27 at halftime.
In Saturday’s game, La Salle played a scrappy game and almost pulled off the upset before senior Marsheik Witherspoon hit two free throws in the final minute to seal a 64-61 victory.
The Colonials led throughout most of the game, but GW went cold and the West No. 5 seed Explorers (15-13, 7-10 A-10) got hot late in the second half. After La Salle took a one-point lead with just under two minutes left, Joens hit a jumper from the top of the key to put the Colonials back on top.
GW followed with a defensive stop, but Montaana could not convert the front end of a one-and-one from the free throw line, giving the Explorers another chance to take the lead. But La Salle would fail again, and this time Witherspoon was fouled with 20 second left. The Explorers tried to ice her with a timeout, but the senior guard was unfazed and hit both free throws.
La Salle’s Meghan Wilkinson attempted an NBA-range three pointer as time expired, but it clanked off the side of the rim.
Witherspoon finished with 12 points and six assists and was joined in double figures by Joens, Montaana and senior Ugo Oha.