The GW women’s basketball team opens up its season with five games against strong teams. But to prepare for a challenging schedule, the squad had to start somewhere.
The Colonials began their season Sunday with a 75-53 win in an exhibition match-up against Everyone’s Internet All-Stars. The All-Stars are comprised of former college stand-outs, some of whom have played in the WNBA.
“It was good to see us playing together and playing against someone else and seeing where we are thus far and where we need to be,” senior Jessica Simmonds said. “It shows us a lot in terms of the different set-ups we have, the different players, who could play with who.”
Sophomore Kimberly Beck led the Colonials with 25 points and six three-pointers. Simmonds registered a double-double, with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Junior Kenan Cole went four for six en route to 13 points.
Freshman Chantelle John played 35 minutes in her first collegiate game and scored 11 points.
“(John) showed today … her poise,” McKeown said Sunday. “Seemed like she had been on the floor for two years. She’s got this great temperament about her, I’m really excited about her.”
“Chantelle stepped up,” Simmonds said. “She’s really impressed the team. She played like she was a junior today… it really showed us what she’s capable of and what she needs to improve on.”
Freshman Jamila Bates, who had six rebounds in 13 minutes, is a player that McKeown said is one to watch this season.
“She’s like a bull in a China shop sometimes,” he said. “She gets every rebound. She’s so physical, she jumps so quick. I think that will help us.”
GW had an impressive showing in the second half, with strong rebounding and smooth shooting. The Colonials shot 80 percent from the free-throw line and 52 percent from the field. With 4:30 remaining, Beck let off a three-point shot that fell just as the shot-clock buzzer sounded. Beck was fouled on the shot, and the ensuing free throw gave the Colonials a four-point play. GW dominated the All-Stars, who have played 11 games in two weeks, for the remainder of the game.
“It is what it is, an exhibition game,” McKeown said. “The team that we played was really tired … they kind of ran out of gas. The last eight minutes we just made our run.”
The Colonials needed the first 15 minutes to find a flow, as the All-Stars began the game in control, jumping out to a 9-2 lead. With four minutes remaining in the first half, Beck hit three three-point shots in four minutes. The Colonials led 33-32 at the half.
Despite the win, Beck recognizes that there is still work to be done.
“I think we need to work on the execution of our plays,” Beck said. “The focus of this week will be getting ready for (our next game), running our plays more smoothly, and executing better. It’s very important for us to get a good start out of the season, we don’t have time to wait around.”
The Colonials begin their regular season Friday at the Smith Center against Atlantic Coast Conference member University of Virginia.