Women’s basketball gains ground in Atlantic 10

Senior Anna Monta?ana knew the GW women’s basketball team needed to beat Richmond on the road if it wanted a crack at the A-10 West regular season title. With that in mind, she led the Colonials to a 63-47 victory over the Spiders on Sunday, scoring 20 points on 7-of-13 from the floor to go along with eight rebounds and seven assists.

“We got the rhythm of the game so that Richmond could not,” Monta?ana said. “This was one of our top three games all year because we played great defense and were very consistent.”

“The team is starting to believe that we could really do something in the postseason,” she added.

GW (16-7, 9-3 A-10) now sits tied with Richmond (18-5, 9-3 A-10) and one game out of first place, trailing rival Xavier (16-7, 10-2 A-10), a team it will face next Sunday at the Smith Center. The Musketeers defeated the Colonials 57-42 in January in Cincinnati.

“This time of the year every week is a big week because you’re trying to pull yourself into a good position for postseason play,” GW coach Joe McKeown said.

GW came out strong, building a 9-0 advantage to start the game. The Colonials never looked back, extending their lead to 33-19 at halftime.

Senior Jessica Simmonds had 14 points and eight rebounds in the contest. Her dominance in the paint during the first half helped the team establish the tone.

In the second half, GW continued to overpower Richmond, scoring 19 points off Spiders’ turnovers. The Colonials shot 45 percent from the field, while Richmond shot only 27 percent.

“I thought we played a real solid 40 minutes,” McKeown said. “This was one of our better games this season, we played great defense and scored when they tried to start a run.”

Freshman Kimberly Beck had another quality performance, finishing the game with eight points and five assists. She was named A-10 Rookie of the Week for the fifth time this season.

Sophomore Kenan Cole broke out of a shooting slump, scoring 11 points on 5-of-11 shooting. Freshman Sarah-Jo Lawrence came off the bench and had eight points.

“Sarah-Jo and Kenan Cole played well today,” McKeown said. “Everyone is gunning at Monta?ana, Simmonds and Beck, but when other people step up that makes us even stronger.”

McKeown is also approaching another career milestone for victories. He has 424 wins and needs just one more to crack the Top 50 for Division I coaches.

Thursday, the Colonials snapped a three-game road losing streak by easily defeating Duquesne, 79-47. Monta?ana (18 points), Simmonds (17 points) and Beck (10 points and 9 assists) each played well in the win.

The Colonials grabbed a season-high 46 rebounds, led by sophomore Whitney Allen, who had nine boards to go along with eight points.

The Colonials return to action Thursday at St. Joseph’s at 7 p.m.

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