Going into this weekend’s games at Rhode Island and Massachusetts, the women’s basketball team had the added pressure of proving its right to be in the top 25 of women’s college basketball, an honor bestowed on Jan. 16.
The added pressure may have added to the Colonials’ road slipup. GW handily defeated the Rams on Friday 72-54, but were defeated by the Minutewomen 55-53 on Sunday.
The Colonials (12-5, 4-1 Atlantic 10) ended the first half on an 8-0 run to lead 25-19 Sunday over Massachusetts. Massachusetts (5-13, 2-5 A-10) went on a 13-4 run early in the second half to take the lead by three.
The Colonials fought back and led the Minutewomen by six with just more than four minutes remaining. Massachusetts sophomore Kate Mills hit two free throws with the game tied and 10 seconds remaining to give Massachusetts the final edge.
Sophomore Kim Beck led the Colonials with 14 points in a full-game effort. Sophomore Sarah-Jo Lawrence had 10 points, and junior Corinne Turner added nine for GW. The Minutewomen held senior Jessica Simmonds to five points; she had scored 14 points only two days earlier.
Sophomore Pam Rasanio led Massachusetts with 17 points. Mills added a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds. The Minutewomen outscored the Colonials 26-16 in the paint and 21-13 off the bench.
The Minutewomen’s victory was their first over a ranked squad since 1999. The Colonials were also the first ranked team Massachusetts has faced this season. The Minutewomen played No. 22 Boston College earlier in the season; however, the Eagles had yet to break into the top 25. The Colonials were previously the only undefeated team in the A-10.
The Colonials began their weekend on the road at Rhode Island (2-3, 4-11 A-10). Simmonds completed her fifth double-double of the season with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Junior Kenan Cole scored a career-high 17 points while Lawrence also added 17 points.
Sophomore Safi Mojidi led the Rams’ scoring with 22 points. Senior Tanya Rhodes posted 15 points and nine rebounds.
With the score knotted at nine after 7:30 had elapsed in the first half, the Colonials went on a 14-4 run. Mojidi’s three-point shot with 6:43 remaining in the first half put the score at 23-16, but the Colonials pulled out to a 37-25 first half lead.
The Rams began the second half strong, sinking two consecutive three-pointers and pulling within six on an 8-2 run. URI’s late efforts weren’t enough to catch GW, as Cole scored nine points during a Colonials 18-4 run. GW led by 23 with 2:02 remaining and ended the game up by 18.
The Rams were toppled by the Colonials’ 34 points in the paint, 29 points off turnovers, 24 second-chance points and 20 bench points.
GW returns to action Friday at the Smith Center against Fordham at 7 p.m.